Over forty posts cannot be filled at LUH – report

HEALTHCARE staffing remains a problem for Letterkenny University Hospital, amid reports that more than forty consultant and nursing positions cannot be filled.
If follows confirmation that only eight per cent of almost 500 staff (493) recruited for LUH in 2016 and 2017 came through the National Recruitment Service (NRS).
LUH continues to experience long delays in filling permanent posts and, as a result, the local Human Resources department within the hospital is being tasked with filling the vacancies on a temporary capacity.
Almost 200 (196) out of the total 220 staff recruited in 2016 (90%) were recruited by the hospital while only 16 out of 257 staff in 2017 (6%) were recruied by the NRS.
The issue was raised at this week’s meeting of the Regional Health Forum West in Galway by Councillor Ciaran Brogan.
He asked for an updated report on what steps were being taken to fill vacancies in all areas of LUH and how much has been spent on agencies so far in 2018.
It emerged that currently there are 15 consultant vacancies at LUH.
“Local HR (Human Resources) have filled all posts with locum consultants on both payroll and agency rates. The process of filling all the posts in a permanent capacity is underway with the Public Appointments Service and the National Recruitment Service. HR at LUH successfully recruited 86 doctors in training (NCHDs) who started in July 2018. This process will have to be repeated in January 2019. We have no NCHD vacancies,” Ms Ann Cosgrove, COO, Saolta University Health Care Group said.
“HR at LUH has rolling campaigns for both permanent and temporary nursing vacancies. We are currently clearing and filling 27 nursing vacancies and most will be filled in the coming months,” she added.
The Chief Operating Officer confirmed that they have experienced difficulty filling Senior Medical Scientist, Cardiac Physiologists and OT posts and currently have adverts in journals to fill posts.
Ms Cosgrove declined to comment on how much has been spent on agencies so far in 2018.
Cllr Brogan said it was obvious that LUHs ability to find qualified candidates in a reasonable amount of time was not very good.
“The process of filling permanent posts is the responsibility of the National Recruitment Service but it’s not working in Donegal. We need to look at how we can make it more attractive to come up here to work.
“I don’t have all the answers but maybe we could come together with out Northern counterparts to go into colleges and engage with students at an early stage. We’ve never been producing as many medical graduates and yet they seem to go elsewhere when they graduate.
“It’s time to get together with them and look at ways of making it more attractive from them to stay in Donegal once they graduate. Maybe we could help pay a portion of their college fees – put some sort of arrangement in place,” Cllr Brogan said.

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