The nurses and midwives of the INMO Executive Council have today (Friday) held an emergency meeting regarding potential industrial action by the union’s members.
The meeting was held in response to the announcement this morning that the HSE would be extending its current recruitment freeze to almost all nursing and midwifery grades until the end of the year, with the exception of 2023 graduates.
The INMO stated that the announcement from the HSE came without documentation and without consultation with the union. A request for a meeting with the HSE, was declined.
The INMO Executive Council stated that following this announcement they would immediately engage with members with a view to a ballot for industrial action to protect nursing and midwifery practice and patient safety
The INMO also stated that by its own calculations there are currently approximately 2,800 nursing and midwifery funded vacancies in the health service, which urgently need to be filled.
INMO general secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha said
“This recruitment freeze represents a serious error on the part of the employer, and the impact on the provision of care is going to be disastrous.
“While we welcome all increases in bed capacity that have been made in the past year, increases in beds must mean increases in staffing. Anything other than this means our members are being set up for an unacceptable level of risk to their practice and their wellbeing.
“In the years that we have been surveying our members on their intention to leave the health service the numbers keep increasing, and this is due to the inordinate amount of stress being placed on them in overcrowded and understaffed environments. This measure has the potential to force even more nurses and midwives out of their jobs and out of the country, and that itself poses a long term risk to the health service and to the people who depend on it.
“We have been raising the alarm since late Summer that we are on track for a winter of severe overcrowding.
“What is urgently needed is a meaningful implementation of the safe staffing framework that guarantees a minimum number of nurses and health care assistants per patient based on dependency and environment. This framework, which is government policy, must be under underpinned by legislation to protect patient care delivery from unsafe decisions like this this announcement by the HSE, which takes us in completely the wrong direction.”