Earlier this year the Minister for Health Simon Harris said that all nurses who qualified here this year would be offered permanent positions in the health service but I have concrete evidence that nurses in this region are being offered three month contracts which is an open invitation to them to seek work abroad. Either we are serious about keeping nurses here at home or we are not.
It has come to my attention this week that nurses in the Saolta Group have been offered three month contracts which does give much in the way of security of employment and would certainly encourage nurses to seek employment abroad where the contracts are much longer. Minister Harris said this year that all nurses who qualified this year would be guaranteed a job and I am also aware that hospitals were not given any additional funding in their budgets to cater to pay for the extra nurses. In addition, when you look at the amounts of money being paid to agency nurses one wonders just what is going on in our health service and in the HSE..
Clearly the Minister has been talking out of the two sides of this mouth on this issue. On the one hand he wants to keep nurses in the country and on the other he will not provide the budget to pay for them and then offers them a three month contract which is frankly useless. I am calling on Minister Harris to make a statement on this urgent matter as our health service lurches from one crisis to another.