Today’s Budget is not the “gamechanger” the health service needs, the INMO has warned.
The nurses and midwives’ union criticised the government’s budget for a failure to fund long-term systemic improvements to the service – particularly the major, multi-annual funding needed to implement the Sláintecare reform plan.
The union, however, welcomed additional funding for homecare packages, along with commitments to hire extra frontline staff, but called for the HSE’s recruitment pause to be ended.
INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said:
“This is a business-as-usual budget. It’s not the gamechanger frontline health workers need to end overcrowding and bring staffing up to safe levels.
“We’ve been bandaging up the health service for far too long. It needs long-term, systemic change, but that comes with an upfront cost. The Sláintecare report set out a clear funding plan to transition to a new system, but the €3 billion transition fund is nowhere to be seen.
“New homecare supports are welcome and much-needed, as there have been very few approved since May.
“We now need to lift the HSE’s disastrous recruitment pause, if we are to make any dent in the hospital overcrowding crisis. There are over 1,300 unfilled nursing and midwifery vacancies in the public health service.”
On the extra allocation to the NTPF, Phil said:
“Giving more cash to the National Treatment Purchase Fund is an admission of failure, merely acting as a stopgap. Instead of building capacity in the public health service, the government is effectively investing in overseas and private health services.”
INMO representatives will be meeting with Sláintecare management this evening to discuss how to support the change to a new healthcare model. The union will be seeking more detail on funding allocated in this year’s budget.