Further Clarity needed on 2022 Health Spend - INMO
Commenting on Budget 2022, the INMO has called for the allocation to health spending to be used efficiently.
This comes as the Government has announced that €22.2 billion will be spent on health in 2022.
The union broadly welcomed the record investment, in particular the expected spending on:
- the package of measures allocated to women’s health, including the long-underfunded National Maternity Strategy,
- Additional investment in Sexual Assault Treatment Units
- additional funding for mental health, disability and hospice services.
The INMO will be seeking greater detail on the overall budget package on areas including:
- The number of nurses and midwives that will be recruited between now and the end of 2022,
- the Safe Staffing Framework in Nursing, which sets staffing levels scientifically, based on patient needs,
- the number of additional CAO places that will be provided to nursing and midwifery.
INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said:
“The continued increase in health spending is welcome, however we need to ensure that this money is spent in an efficient manner. We need to ensure that we are getting staffing right, building up capacity and moving to a universal care model.
“While we have received absolute clarity today in the number of other public sector workers that will be recruited in the year ahead, we don’t know how many nurses and midwives will be recruited. We know the Government wants to open additional ICU beds, but we need to know how many ICU nurses the HSE intends to hire to ensure that these beds are staffed safely.
“The commitment to the Framework for Safe Staffing and Skills Mix is welcome, but we need to hear from the Minister how much money has been allocated to this framework. This is a long overdue commitment to a scientific method for safe staffing in all care settings.
“The same way we have a pupil-teacher ratio embedded in Budgets year on year. We need to see a patient-nurse ratio that dictates what the safest level of staffing should be in each of our acute hospitals. When our children enter school we expect them to be in an environment where they can get the attention they need to thrive, why don’t we expect the same when a loved one is in hospital? We are currently seeing levels of 15 patients to 1 nurse. This is unsustainable. Money allocated in Budget 2022 must be used to develop a safe and sustainable staffing level.
“There are welcome initiatives in Budget 2022 for health, particularly around women’s health including extra spending on the National Maternity Strategy, increased investment in Sexual Assault Treatment Units and initiatives to tackle period poverty, which the INMO has long campaigned for.
“We need to see more detail on how the money allocated in this Budget will be spent and what the targets for the year ahead include.”