Commenting on the publication of the HSE Winter Plan, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has said removing the bureaucracy around recruitment must be core tenet of any winter plan.
INMO Deputy General Secretary Dr Edward Mathews said:
“The INMO has welcomed the publication of the Winter Plan for the upcoming months. The inclusion of a hospital-by-hospital allocation is something that the INMO has long called for.
“However, plans and reality are two very different things. The reality is unless we have the staff announcing additional capacity is futile.
“We know that many of our emergency departments are not staffed adequately or safely at present. In order to allow for more nurses and midwives to be recruited at the pace in which we need them, Directors of Nursing and Midwifery in each hospital should have a greater role in recruitment.
“As part of the winter plan, nurses, midwives and the patients they care for need to be assured that every bed possible, including beds in the private hospitals, will be used this winter. This coupled with ensuring that diagnostics are made available in the community and at weekends should relieve pressure on our emergency departments.
“In the longer term, we need assurances from the Minister for Health that the commissioning of elective-only hospitals, as per the SláinteCare plan, will be sped up. This will be a game changer in winters to come.
“Our members are currently overburdened and overworked in the situations they are working in, they are telling us that they are not willing to put up with another winter in intolerable conditions, with many voting with their feet and leaving the profession altogether. We must ensure that there is a legal basis for the implementation of safe staffing levels.”