There is 21,550 more staff working in the HSE than there were six years ago.
According to figures provided to The Echo from Cork North Central TD and Fine Gael spokesperson for health, Colm Burke there has been additional recruitment of 3,750 staff per annum since 2014.
“The number of people currently working in the HSE is in excess of 135,000, as many are working part-time. When this is taken into account, the figure for whole-time equivalents (full-time workers) works out at 124,565 as of the end of September 2020,” Deputy Burke said.
“I very much welcome the increase which has occurred, however, there is one area where very little progress has been made and that is in respect of the recruitment of Public Health Nurses.
“The number of new Public Health Nurses has only increased by 5.3% while the overall increase across all other areas in the HSE is in the region of 20.9% in total,” he added.
In December 2014 there was 78,499 frontline staff in the HSE. This increased yearly to 95,370 in September 2020.
The number employed in administration roles increased from 24,530 to 29,198 in the same period.
Mr Burke confirmed that funding has been put in place to recruit an additional 16,000 staff over the next 12 to 18 months.
“This must be carefully managed and particular areas need to be prioritised,” he said.
“If we wish to provide more care in the community, it is essential that the necessary staff are employed but also that the appropriate facilities are available in order to provide that care.
“There is also going to be an increase in demand for home care and it is important that there is connectivity between hospitals and those working at community level. This is a key area which we must continue to develop and improve on if we want adequate care to be provided in a person’s own home when they are discharged from hospital.”
Deputy Burke concluded: “Covid-19 has presented new challenges but has also provided new opportunities and it is important that the time is used to plan, grow and improve the level of healthcare for all citizens of this State.”