Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly today (Thursday) confirmed his commitment that 2020 graduate nurses and midwives would be guaranteed a permanent job in the health service on graduation. The minister addressed final year students during an INMO webinar today and specifically thanked nursing and midwifery students and interns for their vital contributions to date during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The minister advised the group that he had received extremely positive feedback from the HSE regarding student nurses/midwives' positive approach to getting involved and directly contributing during this most difficult time.
The minister also acknowledged that staffing levels were currently insufficient and stated that he was in the process of agreeing a winter plan with the HSE and that discussions with the INMO would be part of the process.
The INMO also welcome the minister’s commitment to full implementation of the safe staffing framework, and the importance of the recently convened Expert Group on Nursing and Midwifery.
INMO president Martina Harkin Kelly said:
“Nursing and midwifery students have given the best of themselves during this pandemic and it is only right that they can depend on a fair deal when they graduate.
“Safe staffing levels are key to ensuring good patient outcomes. Keeping an adequate supply of nurses and midwives in the health service at a time when demands are constantly increasing is going to be a challenge. To meet that challenge we need to keep graduates in the profession and in Ireland.”
INMO general secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha said:
“We have written to the HSE and the Minister requesting immediate engagement on a funded workforce plan.
“Nurses and midwives in Ireland worked through the worst winter on record for hospital overcrowding, and then went straight into the major challenge of preparing the health services for COVID-19. They have provided excellent care during this period, many suffering ill-health as a result themselves.
“Their contributions have been extraordinary and selfless, as they faced the pandemic head on and without flinching, heroines and heroes all. They are now exhausted, and the risk of burnout and illness is very high.
“We are now seeking immediate engagement with government and HSE on nursing and midwifery workforce planning, to ensure safe workloads and patient and staff safety for the coming winter.”