The HSE policy of re-employing retired staff on short term contracts has been slated by FG North West MEP Jim Higgins as "grossly unfair to young qualified and eligible candidates both in the administrative and nursing sectors."
Making his criticism Mr Higgins said "I have come across several instances of where this is happening. In one case a young applicant for employment in the administrative sector of the HSE remains on a waiting list while at the same time a 70 year old former employee on a HSE pension has been brought back into employment."
"The problem is not confined to the administrative area - there is a similar problem in the nursing sector."
"I've also been contacted by many constituents who upon qualification cannot find a nursing job, while retired nurses continue to work under the guise of a nursing shortage. Retired nurses can often work flexi-time and many choose to only work Sundays or holidays in order to avail of premium pay."
"Many young graduates with fresh ideas are forced to emigrate, stack shelves or join the dole queue as retired nurses, already in receipt of state pensions, clean up."
"We simply cannot afford to allow this brain drain of graduates to continue."
"Retired nurses have a lifetime of connections, which often enable them to be chosen ahead of young graduates. Nursing is an extremely tough job which is both physically & mentally straining. When nurses reach retirement age it is only right that they retire or change profession in order to allow fresh graduates with new ideas and methods into the field."
"It's very simple newly qualified nurses need to be given priority over those already in receipt of state pensions. Retired nurse should only be hired in extreme circumstances and where the HSE can prove that, following an adequate recruitment process. there was no other option."
"The current practice is not sustainable. I am calling on Minister Reilly to stamp out this hugely wasteful practice and allow young nurses a chance to work."
Contact: Aoife Kearney + 32 22 8 37843