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Hundreds of temporary health service staff to be let go in Ireland

Hundreds of temporary health service staff to be let go in Ireland
THE HEALTH Service Executive says it will tell trade unions today it plans to let go hundreds of temporary staff in the west and to place significant numbers of others on reduced hours, possibly a three-day week in some cases, in an effort to tackle its financial deficit.
HSE management will also propose reducing expenditure on overtime and allowances by moving away from having hospital beds open on a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day basis and converting these to day-beds or five-day beds.
Beds and theatres in hospitals will be closed as part of the cutback plans.
In its west region, the HSE also aims to save money through new efficiencies and value-for-money drives in areas such as procurement of medical supplies, blood products and equipment.
The HSE will also seek greater flexibility to redeploy permanent staff from corporate areas to more frontline functions to replace temporary staff.
It is understood that at a Labour Relations Commission hearing on the proposed cutbacks, which will resume in Galway today, the HSE will indicate it has recorded a financial deficit of 57 million in the western region up to June. It will forecast a shortfall of 91 million for the year without remedial action.
The Irish Times reported last week that management consultants commissioned by the HSE in the west had recommended that up to 1,000 temporary staff could be let go in a bid to tackle the financial deficit.
At the hearing today, the HSE is expected to make a series of presentations about the financial situation in the various parts of its western region - which extends from Limerick to Donegal - and to set out proposed cutbacks in each area.
The presentation will state that primary, community and continuing care services in Donegal are facing a 4.7 million financial gap and that the position is "not sustainable". The presentation maintains that there are 255 temporary staff in the community services with contracts "due to expire".
It is unclear whether the proposal is to let these staff go or to reduce their hours. The presentation will state the consequence of a reduction in the number of temporary staff would be a reduced service provision.
For the HSE's mid-west region, the presentations will state that a reduction in whole-time equivalent staffing levels of 256 would be required for six months but that in a worst-case scenario this could rise to 553. It is unclear whether these staff could face being let go or having their hours reduced.

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