Thursday, 20 January 2011

Ceisteanna (117)

Paul Connaughton

Ceist:

113 Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the reason a person (details supplied) in County Galway is not permitted to retire under the Croke Park agreement as opposed to retiring under the cost neutral method which appears to be the only option open to the person and other long serving colleagues; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that if the applicant retired on the only option open to the person at present he or she would lose almost €10,000; if her further attention has been drawn to the fact that the retirement of long service nurses would provide an employment boost for younger nurses at a much lower salary base; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3130/11]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Health)

The Public Service Agreement provides that, where the circumstances require it, the Government may offer voluntary mechanisms to exit the public service generally, or in specific sectors, bodies, locations or services. In late 2010 the Government approved a targeted voluntary early retirement (VER) scheme and a voluntary redundancy (VR) scheme for staff in the management and administrative and general support staff categories in the public health service. The schemes were not targeted at those providing front-line services. I have no plans at this stage of introducing such a scheme in respect of nursing or other frontline services.

A critical part of the Government's strategy to restore the public finances is to achieve sustainability in the cost of delivering public services relative to State revenues. The proposal raised by the Deputy is not feasible given the current financial position as the pension costs and ongoing salary costs arising would not deliver the necessary level of savings.

The National Recovery Plan provides for an ongoing reduction in health sector employment of at least 1,500 in each of the four years (2011-2014) with consequential payroll savings. It is recognised that the employment controls impact on newly qualified nurses obtaining employment. However, the only way to ensure we have a sustainable health service in the future is to take firm action now to address the budgetary imbalance.