The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) expressed disappointment that the HSE Service Plan falls short of meeting the growing demands of the public health services. The HSE have confirmed that they will need to make significant savings during 2018 in order to deliver services. The INMO is disappointed that the HSE placed little emphasis on protecting the front-line workforce of nursing and midwifery.
The HSE did not confirm, in the service plan, any increased funding to expand the nurse Staffing/Skill Mix Taskforce which provides evidenced based safe staffing levels which is currently being piloted on 16 medical and surgical wards in Irish acute hospitals. Building the nursing and midwifery workforce is essential. The crisis relating to recruitment and retention means that there are 3000 less nurses and midwives at work today than there were in 2007. This cannot be ignored as this scenario poses high risks for the delivery of safe patient care and will further exacerbate the exodus of nursing and midwifery staff from the public health service.
Speaking this evening the INMO General Secretary Designate Phil Ni Sheaghdha said:
“The Minister for Health has had, this evening, to intervene and issue correspondence to the INMO providing clarifications and assurances in relation to honouring in full the agreement reached in February 2017 allowing for a fully funded increase of 1224 nursing and midwifery posts by December 2017. We now require an urgent meeting to agree the next step which is development of the nursing and midwifery workforce plan for 2018. The Service Plan will be cold comfort for nurses and midwives at work this evening as their workloads will continue to grow without specific resource building measures being identified, or funded, by the HSE.”