INMO secures correction of census count for Nursing and Midwifery
As members may be aware, in January 2018 the HSE advised that, on the instruction of the Department of Health, they returned student nurses/midwives as 1 Whole Time Equivalent (WTE), although the formal national agreement is that student nurses/midwives are returned, for census purposes, as 0.5 of a WTE.
Following the INMO’s rigorous pursuit of this HSE unilateral breach of the 2005 national agreement (which confirmed that student nurses/midwives are counted as 0.5 WTE and returned as such on the overall employment census), we have re-established the correct counting mechanism.
The direct result of this unilateral change by the HSE/Department of Health was an over inflation and overstatement of the total nursing/midwifery workforce figure. The INMO immediately objected and sought the reversal to the agreed method of counting. This did not occur and therefore the matter was referred to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) as a breach of the 2005 Agreement.
Following a number of conciliation conferences eventually the HSE and the Department of Health confirmed that they would revert to the nationally agreed method of counting student nurses/midwives.
The June 2018 figure records a total growth of 667 WTE’s between December 2017 and June 2018. Of those, 461 are actually student nurses/midwives, therefore, in the first six months of this year, a very modest growth of 206 qualified nurses/midwives is reflected for this period.
The HSE/Department of Health, in an attempt to portray their efforts in recruitment and retention in a better light, attempted to use a double count mechanism for student nurses/midwives as evidence that the nursing and midwifery workforce was growing. This, as members are more than aware, is not the case. In fact there has been a drop in the staff nurse grade and in June 2018 there are 8 fewer staff nurses than there were in December 2017.
Recruitment and retention clearly remains a significant challenge, dressing up figures is not the answer. Real engagement is now required to address the recruitment and retention crisis and members can be assured that where attempts are made by the employer to hoodwink the system they will be challenged and pursued by this organisation.
Thanking you for your attention.
PHIL Ní SHEAGHDHA
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