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ADC - Midwifery workforce is ‘on its knees’

“The persistence of the moratorium on recruitment, coupled with the loss of midwifery expertise due to retirements, has left the national midwifery workforce on its knees, warned Ann Burke from the Executive Council.

She was proposing a motion that “Conference deplores the unsafe midwife staffing levels which now exist, in most maternity units across the country, despite our very high birth rate and the increasing complexity of managing the mother and newborn. In that context conference directs the Organisation to immediately seek the establishment of a review of current midwifery staffing and practice, chaired by an independent expert, with a view to establishing international best practice and standards, with regard to staffing levels and practice in all of Ireland’s maternity hospitals and units.”

She said that nurses and midwives were working in a “precarious and poorly resourced” situation every day of the week and this is not reported on until the risk has resulted in an unfortunate tragedy.

“Be under no illusion colleagues, midwives in Galway, and throughout the country, had already been waving a red flag in a desperate bid to highlight the dangers of grossly under resourced maternity wards.

“Midwives deserve better than to be told to ‘get on with it’. The women of this country and their unborn deserve better than this too.

“It is imperative that the practice and expertise of Ireland’s midwives is protected and not jeopardised by the employer’s abject failure to address safe levels of practise in maternity units. The INMO is therefore calling for the urgent establishment of a review of midwifery staffing by an independent chair in order to address midwife staffing and international best practice and standards,”. she told delegates.

Maureen Hanlon from the Castlebar Branch warned that what happened in Galway could happen in any hospital in Ireland, not just maternity hospitals. “Everyday I leave my job I look up there and say, ‘Thank God the patients I care for are safe today’,” she said.

Adrienne Murphy, from the Cork HSE Branch who works in Cork University Maternity Hospital, said “I implore you to support this motion because we are going to be the next Galway”.

Madeline Spiers of the East Coast Area Branch said that an honest and transparent health system was needed. “We need to talk about what’s happening in our hospitals in a very open and public way. We need to write to the papers. We need to inform Emily O’Reilly if the HSE does not respond and we need to do it now.

The motion was passed.

ADC - Midwifery workforce is ‘on its knees’


June 2013 Vol 21(5)
June 2013 Vol 21(5)
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Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (Cumann Altrai agus Ban Cabhrach na hEireann). The Whitworth Building, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7. T:+353 1 664 0600 E:inmo@inmo.ie