Written Answers - Health Service Staff.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 703 No. 1

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  191.  Deputy John O’Mahony  Information on John O'Mahony  Zoom on John O'Mahony   asked the Minister for Health and Children  Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney   if she will lift the ban on public sector recruitment for health and ambulance personnel in the interests of public safety; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9225/10]

Minister for Health and Children (Deputy Mary Harney): Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  In order to implement savings measures on public service numbers, the Government decided that, with effect from 27 March 2009 to end 2010, no post in the public sector, however arising, may be filled by recruitment, promotion, or payment of an allowance for the performance of duties at a higher grade. The decision applies to all grades of permanent and temporary staff, notwithstanding a number of specific exemptions. A HSE circular has issued which gives effect to the Government decision in the public health services and other specific aspects of the employment control framework for the health services.

The Government decision was modulated to ensure that key services are maintained insofar as possible in the health services, particularly in respect of children at risk, older people and persons with a disability. This would mean reorganising and restructuring work in order to minimise the impact on essential service delivery. The redeployment and reassignment of staff would be an essential part of this process. It is a matter of great concern that the level of flexibility from staff and unions required to achieve the changes needed, is not forthcoming at the moment, due to the ongoing industrial action across the public service.

Health employment levels are monitored by the Joint Employment Control Monitoring Committee, which comprises officials from my Department, the Department of Finance and [160]the HSE. This committee also reviews the implementation of the moratorium and any issues arising.

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