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26th May 2023

Healthcare staff are being asked to ‘volunteer’ over the bank holiday weekend

Clodagh McKeon

HSE is asking for healthcare professionals to work over the June bank holiday weekend to bring services closer to weekday levels.

HSE Chief, Bernard Gloster has written to healthcare staff asking them to take on extra shifts over long weekends.

It’s to avoid the “dreadful position” hospitals are left in after a bank holiday weekend.

Over 700 patients were waiting on trolleys in Irish hospitals following the May bank holiday weekend.

According to the Irish Daily Mail, Gloster said that repeated scenes of overcrowding would have “implications for the rest of the healthcare system”.

He spoke at a health workers’ trade union conference yesterday and said that a move to seven-day rosters for a range of HSE staff outside of doctors and nurses is essential to address capacity issues.

Medics were quick to warn Gloster that the proposals would fail without more staff and crèche facilities.

Delegates at the conference represented 33,000 healthcare workers in Ireland.

Work the bank holiday in exchange for time in lieu.

The HSE Chief Executive pleaded with staff to help avoid a repeat scenario of previous bank holidays this year.

He said: “For the moment all I can say is please.”

He said they are being asked to volunteer for the weekend shift, in return for overtime payments or days in lieu.

Gloster said: “The reality is we have exceptionally talented, very good people working across the Irish health service.

“But, the majority of our working practices and processes, by which people move through the system, are Monday to Friday.

“At the weekends it’s essential medical on-call care and nursing care is in our hospitals and in our community services.

“We need to put a whole range of services around them at weekends to keep people moving through the system.”

The HSE is asking the thousands of clinical and support staff, who normally work a five-day week, to work over the June bank holiday weekend to bring services closer to weekday levels.

Nurses, doctors, consultants and radiographers said they already work rosters which span seven days.

They have questioned plans to move more staff to weekends, away from shifts they work.


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