Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health

Workforce Planning in the Health Sector (Resumed): Discussion with Fórsa

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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I wish to ask Mr. Donnelly an entirely different question concerning trust. I have worked in healthcare systems abroad and none of them is perfect but the ones that work best for patients have a reasonable level of trust between the employer and the workers. It is never perfect but there is a pride in being in the workforce and a general sense that the employer has the worker's back most of the time. One aspect that strikes me about the HSE, the Irish public health care system, is that it is opposite of that. There is a total lack of trust and a breakdown in the relationship between the employer - I do not mean individual local employers but the HSE, the ultimate paymaster - and front-line workers. It seems to be chronic or it may be that all the disgruntled people talk to me. We seem to be an outlier and it is for doctors, nurses, midwives, physiotherapists, primary care workers, health and social care professions. It seems to be across the system. Is there something we can do from the State’s perspective to rebuild trust so that the workers Fórsa represents feel valued, respected and listened to and can have a great sense of pride that they work for Ireland’s public healthcare system and, ultimately, can have a bit of trust that their organisation has their back?