The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) is seeking the intervention of the Department of Health due to the alarming drop in nursing/midwifery figures and increase in agency cost figures in the HSE.
The most recent figures obtained by the INMO confirm that within the HSE alone, the expenditure on agency nursing so far this year has reached €22, 480655 and for healthcare assistants €24, 590576 and for medical staff €41, 585195. (Calculated for 26 weeks to end of June).
The INMO has over the past number of weeks met a number of senior HSE managers who confirm that they are being refused sanction nationally to directly hire nurses due to budget constraints. This completely contradicts the HSE’s stated position that there is no recruitment moratorium and that all qualifying nurses will be offered permanent posts this August.
This is further compounded by increasing vacancies, unfilled in the frontline staff nursing positions, most recent figures confirm that the vacancies as recorded in 2015, have continued to expand in the staff nurse grade and there are now 270 less staff nurses in the public health system, than there were in December 2015. This included figures that confirm there are now 3,177 less nursing posts than there were in September 2007. This is against the background of expanding services, increasing demand for public health services and reconfiguration of HSE structures, particularly in community care that has resulted in layers of bureaucracy that makes the former health board structures, which were reformed to cut down on bureaucracy, looking lean.
Speaking today, INMO Director of Industrial Relations, Phil Ni Sheaghdha said:
“The lack of a workforce plan has never been as evident as it is currently. The idea that some of the 1500 graduating nurses, will potentially be forced, due to this HSE policy, to seek employment abroad again, despite the HSE spending excessively on agency is simply inexcusable.”
Ms Ni Sheaghdha continued:
“The INMO has requested to meet the HSE national directors as a matter of urgency on this issue and also request that the minister for Health directly intervenes as clearly this cost increasing approach to front line staffing needs to be examined by the Department of Health and immediately corrected.”