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HSE cuts a further 804 nursing/midwifery posts in first 10 months of 2013

PRESS RELEASE 4 December 2013

- 71% of posts cut in 2013 are from the frontline
- 5,133 nursing/midwifery posts lost since 2009
Figures released by the HSE confirm that it has cut a further 804 frontline nursing/midwifery posts in the first 10 months of 2013.  This latest round of cuts brings the total number of nursing/midwifery posts dropped, since 2009, to 5,133 or almost 13.5% of the total nursing/ midwifery workforce.
The official figures, recently released by the HSE to the INMO, also confirmed the following:
  • the cut of 804 nursing/midwifery posts, in 2013, represents 53% of the total reduction in posts, in the year to date, although nursing/midwifery only makes up 34% of the total workforce;
  • when combined, the total loss of nursing/midwifery and support staff, from the frontline, is 1,068.  This represents 71% of the total loss in posts, in 2013, although these frontline grades make up 43% of health service staff.
The INMO, following an analysis of these figures, believes they confirm, despite the numerous commitments by government and management to protect the frontline, that the current HSE policy is to continue to reduce frontline staff regardless of the effect upon the quality or quantity of care available to patients/clients.
The INMO also notes the ruthless efficiency shown in cutting these frontline posts, since 2009, and contrasts this with the lethargic approach taken to ending top up allowances paid to senior managers in the same period.
The INMO now believes that the government, with immediate effect, must exempt nursing/ midwifery posts, from any further contraction, and begin the process of restoring staffing levels to ensure they are adequate to meet patient needs.
Commenting on these figures INMO General Secretary Liam Doran said:
These figures are truly shocking and demonstrate, once again, that both government and health service management have failed, completely, to protect frontline services through the maintenance of frontline posts.
The repeated statements that frontline services would be protected are also exposed, as empty promises, with even a cursory examination of these latest official employment figures.
The reduction of over 5,100 nursing/midwifery posts, in five years, with the loss of 804 posts alone in the last 10 months, is an appalling indictment of government policy which is simply driven by economics and austerity budgets.  This flawed, insensitive approach pays no attention, whatsoever, to the quality and safety of care available to the sick and vulnerable in our society”.
He went on to say:
“This contrasts with the British Conservative led government’s commitment to immediately engage a further 3,700 nurses to protect patient care.  It is worth noting that a study released earlier this year, confirmed UK wards were better staffed than their Irish equivalent.
Mr. Doran concluded:
“This sustained full frontal attack, upon nursing/midwifery and other frontline posts, over the past five years and its impact upon the delivery of direct care to patients, is graphic proof that this slash and burn approach, to the Irish public health service, is damaging, corrosive, indefensible and cannot be continued by this, or any other, government.  
What is needed now is an immediate commitment to replace these lost nursing/midwifery and other frontline posts, in keeping with what is happening in the United Kingdom, in the face of damning evidence of the harm done to patients by poor staffing levels.  
The current situation cannot, and should not, be defended by anybody involved in, or concerned about, the Irish public health service”.
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