Responding to the Department of Health measures of Budget 2024, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has said not enough focus is being given to keeping nurses and midwives in the Irish health service.
INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said:
“Since December 2019, we have seen an insufficient amount of additional whole-time equivalent staff nurses recruited each year. Currently, we have over 400 vacancies in emergency departments alone, we have seen an exodus of midwives from the public health service and there is a recruitment crisis in public health nursing.
The HSE has acknowledged that there is a higher than normal turnover in nursing and midwifery but Budget 2024 will clearly not allocate sufficient resources needed to fund the numbers required to guarantee the safe staffing framework, which is the Government’s own policy.
“With an ageing population and record attendances at emergency hospitals, the need for a thriving nursing and midwifery workforce in both acute hospital and community settings has never been greater.
“Today at the departmental briefing, Minister Donnelly announced the establishment of a ‘productivity task force’, what is really needed is a retention task force. There is a real crisis facing the health sector when it comes to retaining our highly trained nurses and midwives who are leaving in their droves for better opportunities abroad or outside of the public healthcare setting.
“Traditionally young nurses and midwives went abroad for a year or two, now they are leaving for much longer periods, or indeed for good, because safe nurse and midwifery staffing levels are taken as a given in other jurisdictions. We are fearful that because of the conditions both in our hospitals and in the housing sector that safe staffing will not be a reality in our hospitals anytime soon.
“In order to ensure that young nurses and midwives see Ireland as a viable place to work and thrive on graduation, the Government must do more to reduce the cost of living near the large hospitals in Dublin, Cork and Galway. The government will have to go further than a tax credit for renters to keep the future of our health service here.
“A laser-like focus on retaining nurses and midwives in the public health service is required now more than ever.”