The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) and SIPTU nursing met this evening with Department of Health (DOH) and Health Service Executive (HSE) officials in relation to planned numbers of funded posts allocated for recruitment in the calendar year 2018 for the grades of nursing/midwifery.
These figures were due to be presented to the unions in November 2017, however at today’s meeting the employer and department were unable to comprehensively or with clarity set out the basis of the figures presented. The unions have sought a full detailed account of the Funded Workforce Plan within 24 hours and confirmation from the DOH that the double counting of student nurses since January 2018 will cease immediately. In addition, agreements in relation to growing the nursing/midwifery workforce brokered with the assistance of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in 2017 are not being honored. The INMO have today, also sought an emergency meeting with the Oireachtas Health Committee in relation to the lack of planning for workforce and capacity growth in the public health service.
Speaking after the meeting this evening, INMO General Secretary, Phil Ni Sheaghdha said:
“The Funded Workforce Plan has been delayed by 6 months, it is still incomplete, and our hospitals are more overcrowded in May 2018 than the same period in previous years. The DOH and HSE have confirmed this evening that they cannot commence negotiations on increasing bed numbers as set out in the capacity report by the government. While they accept additional nursing staff will be required to facilitate the opening of these beds, the draft plan presented today had no allocation of funding for these posts. This poses real concern that a significant funding deficit exists and will negatively affect frontline services which could lead to a restriction of services rather than the required expansion to assist hospital overcrowding and reduce waiting lists.”