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Patient Care Will Suffer If Front Line Services Cut Warn Medical And Nursing Professions. 06/05/09

Media Release                                                                                   

Medical and nursing professions warn that any moratorium on recruitment in the health service will place health care workers and their patients in an unsafe care environment which would be unacceptable.

At a joint press conference today (Tuesday, 5 May, 2009), members of the Irish Medical Organisation and of the Irish Nurses Organisation said that services to patients must be maintained and this could only be achieved by ensuring that front line staff levels are not curtailed.

The HSE, due to financial pressures, has indicated that it is required to place a moratorium on recruitment and promotions in the public service including front line health care services.

Health care workers are responsible for the quality of care they provide and the overall safety of their patients.  No doctor or nurse should be forced to accept and work in circumstances which appear to be ethically wrong or which pose a risk to the safety or welfare of their patient.  Equally, doctors and nurses should not be forced to accept a situation which poses an unacceptable risk to the health and safety of themselves or a colleague.

Each department relies on teams and these teams consist of doctors, nurses and others, with no one specialty working in isolation.  A full team must be available to ensure safety for patients and health care professionals.

IMO Vice President, Prof Sean Tierney, said:  “We must ensure that health care delivery is efficient and safe.  A full quota of front line staff must be maintained to minimise the impact on patients.

“It is critical that the replacement of staff is prioritised and that locums and temporary staff are made available in critical areas.”

Liam Doran, INO General Secretary commented: “It must be clearly understood that, regardless of the pressures the HSE is under with regard to numbers and employment practices, frontline staff will not countenance being put in a situation where they are asked to work in an environment which poses even greater risks, than currently exist, for either patients or themselves.”

Both the INO and IMO have indicated that they are willing to discuss where savings can be reached that would minimise any impact on the delivery of patient care.

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Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (Cumann Altrai agus Ban Cabhrach na hEireann). The Whitworth Building, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7. T:+353 1 664 0600 E:inmo@inmo.ie