Fianna Fáil Senator Dr. Keith Swanick has called on the Minister for Health to clarify reports that only a small proportion of student nurses in UHG will be offered employment once they graduate.

Senator Swanick said it was outrageous that in the midst of the biggest recruitment and retention crisis in the HSE, student nurses would be shown the door once they graduate.

He explained, “In 2018, Minister Harris was delighted to tweet that a full time and permanent job would be offered to every student nurse and midwife graduate in Ireland. He must be of the belief that he has solved the recruitment crisis because the same offer is not being made this year.

“The issue was brought to me by Galway Cllr Noel Thomas who is rightly baffled by a health service who would rather waste millions on agency staff rather than employ full-time and permanent nurses who have been educated and trained in Ireland. What makes it worse is that this revelation comes in the same week that the INMO is warning that the overcrowding crisis is worsening at UHG.

“It’s important to remember that the number of staff nurses fell by 1,754 between 2008 and 2018. Over that time there has been a significant increase in demand for health services over the past decade with further increases anticipated owing to changing demographics. This is going to continue and unless we stop exporting our talented nurses, we’re going to face major problems in the future.

“I have written to Minister Harris to ask him whether he would be offering a full-time permanent position to all graduate nurses given the current crisis. I look forward to his response”, concluded Senator Swanick.