- 14 Oct 22
Billboards commissioned by the Department of Health in Victoria, Australia have been spotted near hospitals in Dublin and Cork, encouraging overworked healthcare staff to relocate for better conditions.
Strategically placed billboards spotted around the country have incited fear over a further exodus of Irish healthcare workers. Seen in Dublin and Cork, the adverts in question were commissioned by the Department of Health in Victoria, Australia and spotted nearby Irish hospitals.
One of the signs near Mater Hospital in Dublin reads, “Victoria, Australia. Now recruiting healthcare workers…join the community.”
There is one of these signs recruiting irish healthcare workers to Australia, outside the mater, visible from the wards! 😬
We have our very own homegrown recruitment crisis @HSELive. We need to replicate working conditions elsewhere to stay afloat. https://t.co/SFlTqUxz6W
— Laura Durcan (@Rheum2improve) October 13, 2022
The aggressive ad campaign is evidence of increasing emigration levels, which rise every year as many young Irish doctors and healthcare workers seek out better working conditions in healthcare systems that value and support them.
Representatives on behalf of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) spoke about the adverts, asserting that poor healthcare working conditions in Ireland in comparison to Australia have made the sudden appearance of the ads unsurprising.
Maeve Brehony, the assistant director of industrial relations and the INMO rep for Dublin’s Mater Hospital, told Newstalk Breakfast, “We should be seeing action from our own management. We should see the HSE and the Mater using billboards to recruit.”
Brehony relayed that due to poor recruiting in Ireland, the Irish healthcare system was inevitably training workers to leave in exchange for similar pay yet far better working conditions.
Due to poor recruitment practices, the numbers of hospital workers leaving in masses have left remaining healthcare workers “overburdened and overworked,” said Brehony.
Issues have risen due to “red tape” surrounding recruitment of nurses in Ireland.
Circumstances such as waiting months to begin work, a lack of legal backing for safe staffing numbers and overall poor work-life balance are some of the causes behind Irish healthcare workers leaving the country for better.
On top of that, the lack of beds in Irish hospitals is becoming a problem for both staff and patients. According to Dr. Fergal Hickey of the Irish Association for Emergency Medicine, Ireland currently only has two-thirds of the OECD hospital beds average. This has caused a major, life-threatening delay in hospital wait times, adding to the stress of hospital staff and the emergency of incoming patients.
Healthcare professionals and leaders are now calling on Minister of Health Stephen Donnelly to resign due to a failure on the government’s part in reforming the system.
Seemingly in response to the criticism the Minister has faced on social media regarding his response to the healthcare crisis, Minister Donnelly has today deployed an HSE support team to Cork University Hospital and Galway University Hospital in the hopes of improving capacity.
Both healthcare institutions have experienced some of the most extreme overcrowding in recent weeks and are at the top of the INMO’s watch lists.
Through carrying out the procedure in Cork and Galway, healthcare workers can only hope government action leads to better patient flow, fairer working conditions and a desire to remain in Ireland as crucial fixtures in working society.