Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Department of Health
Health Service Staff
Question 688: To ask the Minister for Health the number of consultants retiring under the recent retirement scheme; the number of these that are under retirement age and by how many years; the number of these consultants that will be replaced; and on what kind of contracts will they be replaced [7934/12]
I wish firstly to clarify that there is currently no early retirement scheme available in the public health sector. The 'grace period' during which the calculation of public service pensions is unaffected by the pay reductions applied under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (FEMPI) (No. 2) Act 2009 expires on 29 February 2012.
The most recent information available from the HSE indicates that over the period January/February 2012 52 consultants will have retired from the health service. These numbers are liable to change as data is refined, such as additional applications being processed or existing applications being withdrawn.
Of this total, the HSE has advised that nine consultants are retiring under the Cost Neutral Early Retirement facility. This facility allows public servants to retire before reaching normal pension age. However, under this facility, retirement benefits are reduced to take into account the early payment of the lump sum and the longer period over which pensions will be paid. Those who meet the eligibility criteria with a minimum retirement age of 60 can retire from age 50 on reduced benefits, while those with a minimum retirement age of 65 can retire from age 55 onwards (also with reduced benefits).
The HSE has advised that decisions on consultant posts to be filled will not be finalised for some weeks. Where posts fall to be filled, the type of contract to be offered in each case will be determined in line with established procedures and according to the service need and other relevant circumstances.
Vacant posts may be filled on an interim basis through temporary appointments or by locum consultants.