The INMO has today welcomed the announcement that that 692 additional nursing and midwifery education places are planned to come on stream. The INMO has called on the Ministers for Health and Higher Education to specify the timeline of introducing these new courses and additional places.
INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said:
“The INMO very much welcomes the announcement today that the State is investing in providing 692 additional publicly funded nursing and midwifery college places. This is an important first step in doubling the number of publicly funded undergraduate training places.
“This is a very welcome development, and one we have been calling for to increase staffing across the health service, and which was recommended by the Expert Review Group on Nursing and Midwifery. However, it is important to remember that those entering degree programmes in 2023 will only qualify in 2027, and that in the meantime, other measures need to be taken to reduce pressure on existing staff, to retain those who are already working there, and to encourage new students into the professions.
“The Expert Review Group on Nursing and Midwifery is also looking at practical ways in which we can provide more training places and make practical changes to nursing and midwifery degree programmes. The report published today by the Higher Education Authority, particularly the emphasis on postgraduate entry, is very welcome in tandem with what we are discussing to advance the profession.
“We really need to ensure that we are supporting new trainees to stay in the Irish health service. At the moment we are looking at large numbers of nurses and midwives being trained in Ireland who do not see a future for themselves in a health service that’s constantly struggling in terms of capacity. We know there is a chronic and unsustainable overdependence on nurses and midwives who have trained in other countries, and keeping graduates and trainee nurses and midwives in Ireland means creating working conditions where they can provide safe care and expect manageable workloads. Creating additional training places and the environment that makes future graduates want to remain in Ireland will go a long way to ensuring we are maintaining our obligations to recruit nurses and midwives ethically.
“We also know that housing is a growing obstacle for those entering the nursing and midwifery workforce and that the staffing issues in the health service need to be looked at in relation to people’s circumstances outside work as well as in hospitals. Without housing supports some of these new undergrads will find it impossible to complete their training, and many of those who graduate will struggle to afford housing near the country’s major hospitals, so we need to ensure that this investment in new nurses and midwives is set up for success by providing students and graduates with everything they need to build their careers in our health service.
“The provision of publicly funded nursing and midwifery places and expanding access is something that is very important to the INMO, so we very much welcome the announcement by Ministers Donnelly and Harris today.”