President’s Message

Let’s invest in people development

It’s that time of year again when the Department of Finance is preparing the estimates for the upcoming year’s budget. After many years of austerity Ireland has started to emerge from the financial doldrums. This year, all of the key economic growth factors are showing positive trends and the country’s tax take, year to date is significantly ahead of budget forecasts. While we must be vigilant of not returning into recession the positive indicators are there for all to see.

Derek Greene, President, HMI
Derek Greene, President, HMI

It is vitally important therefore that we invest significantly and strategically in our health service now and help it to regain much of the ground lost as a result of the recession. More importantly that we invest heavily in ‘our most valuable resource’- the people working in it. As part of the HSE’s strategic plan, it identifies, as a priority, the need to invest in the training and development of our staff. Let’s hope this actually happens and is translated into an ongoing, year on year tangible plan with clearly measured achievable results.

In the media, we see reported that the health service is trying to attract back staff who have left to work overseas as on many occasions there were no jobs for graduates or qualified staff or that working conditions were not attractive enough to retain our staff in our services. The major tragedy in this is that we had to let the staff leave in the first place. Let us never forget it’s easier and better to encourage staff to stay by offering posts that are reasonable and attractive, rather than trying to encourage them to come back, having let them go in the first place. We must not forget that Irish trained health care staff are prized around the world.

If media reports are to be believed the HSE has sought an additional €2 billion of funding for next year. When you look at why this is, it is easy to see that this is not an overly optimistic request, as due to pressures on services and emerging activity trends we need about €1.5 billion just to stand still.

So let’s wish the HSE success in their negotiations with the Department of Public Expenditure and hope that it understand fully why the money is needed and accede to the HSE’s request. Let’s also hope then that the HSE invests the money wisely and well and that the health services greatest asset – our staff – are supported and encouraged to develop their skills and competencies further. Quality services can only be provided by quality staff who are well trained and supported and most importantly feel valued. We need to watch this space and see if change actually occurs in this area.

In closing, I would like to remind you once again about our annual conference ‘Change for the Better’ taking place on September 30 and I would encourage you to attend, and use the event for your professional development as CPD points are available for attendance for the first time this year, and to network with colleagues and learn the latest in what’s happening and what’s planned to happen in our services.

See you there!

Derek Greene
HMI President