Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Clare Cllr. Cathal Crowe has written to the Health Minister and the CEO of the UL Hospitals Group to seek clarification following reports that there are no jobs available in hospitals or in the community for new graduates and that service cutbacks are on the cards.

Cllr. Crowe has been contacted by a graduate nurse, who has been on placement, but has now been told that there is no prospect of her securing a post in the Clare-Limerick region.

“The situation is the Mid-West is extremely worrying and needs to be clarified as a matter of urgency. Only yesterday the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation released information which revealed that there are 1,300 vacant nursing and midwifery posts because of a HSE recruitment ban. We all know that there is a shortage of nurses and midwives in the health service, yet we have a situation where there is a ban on hiring staff. This seems utterly bizarre”, said Cllr. Crowe.

“There is now a real concern that services will be cut as a result of this staff shortage. It’s turning into a vicious circle and the patients are the ones who will suffer. It is also deeply frustrating for nursing graduates, who have spent the last four years studying and may now be forced abroad because the HSE will not hire them.

“We need to hear from the Health Minister on this issue. I have written to him and to the CEO of the UL Hospitals Group asking for answers. I find it difficult to understand how a recruitment ban could remain in place when our hospitals are under so much pressure – particularly heading into the winter period.

“This issue needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. It is unacceptable to be considering further service cuts when those currently available are already struggling to cope with demand”, concluded Cllr. Crowe.