A pool of 1,500 healthcare workers have not yet been deployed in hospitals to help with the Covid-19 crisis, a Donegal TD has said.
Pearse Doherty hit out at the lack of action on recruiting staff today, claiming that hundreds of nurses have completed clearance under the Be On Call for Ireland initiative, but have not been asked to work.
“There are 296 doctors in the pool. There is 1,491 total in the pool, over half of them job-ready and they haven’t been deployed,” Deputy Doherty told the Dáil. He highlighted the situation at Letterkenny University Hospital at the weekend, when patients were treated in ambulances outside the building due to bed shortages. At the time, up to 170 staff were off duty due to Covid-19 infection or as close contacts.
Deputy Doherty said a delay in processing the visa applications forced the RCSI to cancel 200 exams for nurses willing to come to Ireland.
“We all absolutely recognise the work of our frontline workers, but we have a responsibility when people are willing to step forward and assist them in taking some of the pressure off them to make sure the red tape is taken away,” Deputy Doherty said.
In response, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said he had not been informed of the delays in visa processing and that the ‘Be On Call for Ireland’ initiative did not work as well as thought. Mr Varadkar said the issues would be raised with the Minister for Health.