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WRC talks on staffing/recruitment/retention crisis in nursing and midwifery adjourned without progress
Press Release 24.01.2017


-  Health Management confirm they have  no workforce plan

-  No further meetings planned

Talks at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) to address the staffing/recruitment/retention crisis facing nursing and midwifery, adjourned this evening without agreement and with no progress being made.

The talks involved the INMO and SIPTU unions and management consisting of officials from the Department of Health, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the HSE.

At the talks, this afternoon, it became clear that health service management have no funded workforce plan to address the current unsafe staffing levels.  These staffing deficits are compromising patient care and  negatively impacting upon the health and safety of nurses/midwives. Health management, while acknowledging the crisis, confirmed no resources were available to address the current situation.

INMO/SIPTU said this was totally unacceptable and, if allowed to continue, the crisis on recruitment and retention of nurses and midwives, would only deepen.

Management side, have indicated they will attempt to produce a funded plan, for nurse/midwife staffing for 2017, by Friday.  However, management refused to commit to restore staffing to 2008 levels.  This is despite official HSE figures confirming that at the end of 2016 there were 3,200 less nursing/midwifery posts, in the health service, as compared to the end of 2007.  Although management declined to commit to restore staffing levels, they acknowledged that the nursing and midwifery workforce is critical to the delivery of safe, effective patient care and the health service is facing increasing demand year on year.  This is an unacceptable and contradictory stance by management.

At today’s meeting the INMO reaffirmed that its Executive Council will meet on next Monday, January 30 to further consider the situation.  This meeting is taking place in the context of the recent national ballot which showed 90% of members in favour of taking industrial action if necessary, in response to the continuing crisis. The INMO confirmed that any plan, produced by management for 2017, will be presented to the Executive Council when it meets on Monday.  However, at this stage, no further meetings between the parties are planned. 

The Workplace Relations Commission has confirmed it remains available to assist the parties.

Speaking this evening INMO General Secretary, Liam Doran said:

“The meeting today was very disappointing and confirmed that health service management are either unable, or unwilling, to address this crisis on both a short and medium term basis.

The INMO Executive  Council will meet on Monday and , in the absence, of a radical change from management, in their efforts to address this issue, are likely to sanction industrial action following their recent ballot.”

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