Today’s HSE Service Plan for 2020 underestimates the need for staffing, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).
The union pointed to an envisaged increase of just 978 posts across all grades, sectors and areas of the health service.
This is despite an announced increase of 1,000 extra posts for the community sector. The union will seek clarification on the breakdown of this extra staff and how the announced 1,000 extra staff in one sector tallies with an overall smaller increase in staff numbers.
The INMO also strongly criticised the proposed continuation of the HSE’s ‘go slow’ recruitment policy into 2020, which put “centrally constructed” limits in place for staff numbers.
The INMO has previously blamed this policy for chronic frontline understaffing and delays of six months or more in hiring a single staff member.
INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said:
“We are deeply concerned that the HSE are continuing their recruitment ‘go slow’ policy. It’s left vacancies in vital services across the country, leading to patient overcrowding, staff burnout, and overall frustration.
“Accidental bureaucratic delays can be frustrating enough – but this is a deliberate policy to restrict the number of frontline staff. Even appointing a single nurse to cover for maternity leave is taking months, requiring the individual sign off of senior HSE management on each appointment.
“Any extra capacity and staff for the community sector is welcome. We will be contacting the HSE to see how many nurses and midwives they plan to hire and when they expect to rollout the much-needed extra staff.”