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Update On Taskforce On Nurse Staffing. 09.02.15

09 February 2015

Dear Members

As you will recall the Minister for Health has established a Taskforce on Nurse Staffing, which, in its first phase, is currently examining the issue of staffing levels in medical/surgical wards.

The INMO is represented on the Taskforce together with all other relevant stakeholders and the whole process is chaired by the Chief Nursing Officer, in the Department of Health, Dr. Siobhan O’Halloran.

In relation to this very important exercise I would draw your attention to the following:

1.    Here is the latest brief newsletter, from the Taskforce, summarising the work, to date, and I would ask you to bring it to the attention of all colleagues in your workplace.

2.    The INMO, in participating in this Taskforce, is pursuing our agreed policy of seeking the introduction of nurse/patient ratios as determined by our annual conference last May.

  • it will be recalled that our approach is influenced by the experiences of our colleagues in the New South Wales Nursing and Midwifery Association, arising from their campaign of recent years - we received an excellent presentation at last year’s ADC from Ms. Judith Kiejda, their Deputy General Secretary; and
  • the end result, for our NSW colleagues, was an agreement on ratios determined with reference to nursing hours per patient day - this is now being examined by the Taskforce.

3.    The Taskforce will begin its second series of consultations, in hospitals across the country, around the middle of March.

  • When the times, dates and venues, of these very important consultations are finalised they will be notified to you.
  • It is understood that as much notice as possible is given with regard to this second series of meetings.  It is vital that members from medical/surgical wards, have an opportunity to examine any draft proposals and further inform and influence any final decisions that will be contained in the final report.

The Taskforce on Nurse Staffing is, by agreement, an attempt by the Minister/ Department/HSE and ourselves to finally stabilise the nursing workforce at a level which guarantees safe care through safe practice.  Its establishment was a direct result of sustained INMO pressure as we sought to highlight the damage, to patient care and workloads, arising from the recruitment embargo and the loss of 5,000 posts across the system.

Members are asked to watch out for further updates, on this matter, and, in particular, attend the local consultations when they take place in March.

Thank you for your attention to this update and newsletter.

Yours sincerely

General Secretary

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