Dáil Éireann - Volume 613 - 02 February, 2006
Written Answers. - Hospital Staff.
Mr. Connolly Mr. Connolly
91. Mr. Connolly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the number of nursing posts vacant in public and private hospitals at  the end of 2005; the steps being taken to address the problem; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3699/06]
Ms Harney Ms Harney
Ms Harney: According to the most recent Health Service Executive — employers agency survey of nursing resources in the public health service, recruitment remains ahead of resignations and retirements. Employers reported that 1,131 vacancies existed at 30 September 2005, a vacancy rate of 3.24%. This figure includes vacancies in hospitals, intellectual disability services and community health. It does not include vacancies in the private health sector. The vacancy figure should be seen in the context of overall employment in the public health service which now stands at 34,878 whole time equivalent nurses and midwives, 41,655 individuals, which represents a 36% increase since 1997.
There will always be some level of movement due to resignations, retirements and nurses availing of opportunities to change employment and locations. There is an additional pressure this year due to the lack of domestic nursing graduates in autumn 2005 because of the move from a three-year diploma to a four-year degree programme to train nurses. The first graduates from the degree programme will be available for recruitment this coming autumn.
The HSE’s nursing and midwifery recruitment and retention national project is monitoring the manpower situation on an ongoing basis. During 2005 the HSE conducted a successful recruitment drive in India and the Philippines and there will be a further international recruitment campaign this year. The HSE is also targeting inactive nurses for recruitment through an extensive advertising campaign. The financial arrangements for those undertaking back to nursing courses were improved last year. There was a 62% increase in attendance at back to nursing courses in 2005.
Dáil Éireann 613 Written Answers. Hospital Staff.