The Irish Nurses and Midwives organisation (INMO) has secured confirmation, from the HSE, that all vacant nursing posts, in the country’s Emergency Departments (ED), will be filled, as provided for in the recent Agreement, despite the recent announcement, to pause recruitment, from the HSE.
The confirmation, that all posts will be filled, was given at the third Review of the ED Agreement, reached in January, between the HSE/Department of Health and the INMO, which was chaired by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) earlier today.
This part of the ED Agreement provides for the filling of over 144 staff nurse posts, in emergency departments across the country, as part of a comprehensive ED Agreement. This agreement also provides for a system wide escalation policy, weekly meetings between senior management and the INMO and ongoing health and safety and hygiene audits of all emergency departments.
The meeting also noted that the level of overcrowding this year, to date, is almost identical with the level of overcrowding which took place in 2015. However the figures for the first three weeks of May, in 2016 compared to last year, indicate a 10% reduction with 4,766 admitted patients on trolley’s, compared to 5,324 in the first three weeks of May in 2015.
Today’s review also considered a number of other issues including;
Ongoing implementation issues in a number of hospitals including the Mid-West, Sligo and St Vincent’s Hospital Elm Park;
The appointment of an Assistant Director of Nursing in each ED, with responsibility for patient flow, and an additional Clinical Nursing Manager post, in 15 hospitals, with responsibility for admitted patients held in ED’s, when no beds are available.
The need to have greater transparency with regard to the presence of senior clinical decision makers, out of hours and at weekends, in a number of hospitals; and
The preliminary outcome of initial health and safety audits which indicate a series of problems requiring additional security measures in the interests of staff welfare.
The WRC will convene the parties again, on Monday 25th July, to undertake its fourth review, of the implementation of the ED Agreement, and begin preparing for the autumn/winter period later this year.
The meeting also noted that a special four person expert group, also provided for in the Agreement, including one nominee from the INMO will be established immediately. This will recommend staffing levels for all 26 ED’s across the country and report within 10 weeks.
Speaking this afternoon INMO General Secretary said;
“The INMO welcomes the confirmation, by the HSE, that all vacant nursing posts, in ED’s, will be filled as provided for in the Agreement. The INMO took the opportunity, at today’s meeting, to point out, to the HSE/Department of Health that any recruitment pause, with regard to nursing and midwifery, would be counterproductive, damage standards of care and, inevitably, lead to bed closures and curtailment of other services.
The INMO will continue to engage with senior management, at hospital and group level, to ensure the ongoing, 24/7, implementation of the ED Agreement and, at the same time, begin preparing for the autumn/winter period when demand will inevitably increase”.