Cutting healthcare workers is not the solution

10 November 2023
  • Minister Donnelly must present himself in Dail on Tuesday 

Labour health spokesperson Duncan Smith said Ireland’s healthcare system is on the verge of collapse.

Reacting to the latest recruitment freeze announced by the HSE today, Deputy Smith said a grave winter lies ahead for the service.

Deputy Smith said:

“This is a hammerblow for the health service. The health service is already marked by understaffing across the board. Frontline workers tell me all the time that they are overstretched and under resourced.

“Health care workers, our porters, nurses, health care assistants, home helps, are the linchpin of the creaking service. They go above and beyond for the people they care for. They are trying constantly spinning plates to provide care and support to those in the system, and today’s news is just going to send them into despair.

“The key call from healthcare workers’ unions has been to ensure safe staffing levels. This recruitment freeze is going to set that ambition back for years. It’s outrageous, and I’ve no doubt that more and more of our graduate healthcare workers will opt to leave Ireland’s shores for safer working conditions. Who can blame them?

“Just this week, Labour put down a motion demanding an end to the recruitment freeze, particularly for home help care workers. Approximately 6,000 people across the country are waiting for access to this support because there are simply not enough home help workers in Ireland.

“What should have been announced today is an aggressive recruitment campaign for all health workers. That is what’s needed.

“This morning alone, there are 481 people on hospital trolleys. Healthcare workers do their utmost, going above and beyond to protect and care for these patients, but why is it always left to those on the frontline?

“It should not be for patients, or hospital workers, to worry about the chronic failures in health. The Minister and this conservative coalition must step up and provide a pathway to delivering safe care over the weeks, months and years ahead.

“Just yesterday, the Minister made a media appearance. Why was this news not delivered then, on a Thursday, so political leaders could question his Government in the Dail on what plans are in place.

“Workers in our health service across the country will be very concerned this weekend about their capacity to provide care going forward. Without the resources that are needed, the health service will collapse. It will lead to poorer health outcomes.

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