Friday, 9th March 2018
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has been advised that the Public Service Pay Commission intents to carry out a survey, of nurses and midwives, to determine underlying difficulties concerning recruitment and retention.
This is in addition to the detailed information and submissions already made by the INMO and other parties.
Questionnaires have not yet issued in respect of the survey. The design of the survey, and structured interviews, are being carried out by Research Matters Ltd. in accordance with the Commission’s specifications which require that the survey be undertaken objectively and independently. The Commission advise that the process is being overseen by independent academic advisors to the Commission (separate to the research) experienced in the field of research and surveys to further ensure robustness and objectivity of the process.
The INMO have raised concerns with the Commission in respect of the requirement to have, yet another, study to determine recruitment and retention issues. It is our position, and our strongly held view, that ample evidence exists, in the Republic of Ireland, which demonstrates that there is a crisis in recruitment and retention of nursing and midwifery.
We further hold the view that this crisis is as a direct result of continuous low pay, and disregard for the basic principles of supply and demand, and poor workforce planning during the austerity years.
The INMO has, in our submission, set out that:
1. All measures, apart from pay improvement, and pay equalisation, have been tried, tested and have failed to deliver an improvement in recruitment and retention of nurses and midwives.
2. Retention of nurses and midwives is a matter that affects nurses and midwives throughout their career. Senior nurses are leaving the profession and promotions/specialisation roles are now resulting in staff shortages in the front line or very newly qualified/junior nurses/midwives making up a large part of every ward/community rosters.
3. For just over a decade the health service management have continuously shifted the sands in respect of staffing levels. They have attempted to dilute the skill mix without consideration of the evidence that this leads to poorer patient outcomes and high levels of burnout and resignations among nursing staff.
4. There is ample evidence that excellent research, and studies, both in Ireland and across the globe, linking reduced nursing/midwifery staffing levels to poorer patient outcomes and, in some cases, catastrophic outcomes.
5. We are now entering a phase of expansion of the Irish public health service which is very welcome to the Organisation and its members. However unless the base staffing levels, of nursing and midwives are correct before we start, we will be struggling with incorrect staffing levels, poor patient outcomes, burnout of staff and continuous dependency on overseas recruitment into the next decade.
6. Until the pay of the nurse and midwife is improved this problem will continue.
The Public Service Pay Commission is an independent body and obviously we do not seek to delay its work. It has decided to undertake this research and have advised that their intention is to circulate this survey to 200 work locations in the Irish public health service and survey nurses and from all grades from students right through to Directors. Participating in the survey or focus groups is voluntary and we hope that this update will be of assistance to INMO members who are selected to be involved.
Thank you for your attention to this note.
PHIL Ni SHEAGHDHA
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