Winter plan without extra staff will not help, warns INMO
The HSE’s plan for increased winter demands on the health service will not have an impact without extra staff, the INMO has today warned.
The union said that while extra funds were welcome, the ongoing recruitment pause meant that it would be impossible to staff any additional services.
In particular, the union pointed to extra community services as vital to reducing hospital admissions, but questioned where the staffing for such services would come from.
The HSE’s plan predicts that nearly 4% more patients will attend emergency departments this winter compared with last. Yet despite this projected growth, HSE figures show that there are 400 fewer staff nurses and midwives than December last year working in the HSE.
At an Oireachtas Health Committee hearing yesterday, the INMO called for:
• An end to the recruitment pause
• An accelerated rollout of the Safe Staffing Framework
• Funded workforce plans for nurses and midwives
• An increase in undergrad and postgrad nursing and midwifery places.
INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said:
“It’s a simple case of too little, too late. The winter plan provides some welcome extra funding, but it is impossible to expand services with a contracting workforce.
“Even setting aside winter, the health service is severely understaffed. That’s leading to dangerous workplaces for our members, and unsafe conditions for our patients.
“The annual winter surge is entirely predictable, yet once again we are scrambling to plug the gaps in mid-November. It simply isn’t good enough.
“The HSE need to drop their recruitment pause and ensure safe staffing levels across the health service. The only hope of a safe winter is a properly staffed health service.”