The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organization (INMO) has warned that the government might struggle to recruit more nurses for hospitals.
An additional $ 4 billion has been set aside in the 2021 budget as part of the effort to provide additional treatment facilities to 2,400 community care and hospitals in Ireland.
An additional 1,146 acute beds, 66 intensive care beds and 1,250 normal beds, including 600 rehabilitation centers, were funded.
These many number of new facilities would require the recruitment of 4,500 nurses in Ireland. The health sector in Ireland has long relied on foreign employment to facilitate operations.
In 2019, 49% (1,819) of the nurses registered in Ireland were trained outside the European Union, the vast majority of whom were from India.
Currently, recruitment is largely stalled due to travel restrictions and this will continue to be a challenge for the next 6-8 months. No recruitments can be done now.
At the same time the competitive global recruitment market for nurses and midwives will be stronger in all countries than it is now as restrictions are eased.
The INMO also believes that Ireland will have to struggle to meet the increased nurse staffing requirements.
The organization demands that a comprehensive policy for this to be initiated early.
However, the announcement of additional funding alone will not increase the number of nurses in hospitals, and even now there is a shortage of 1,500 nurses in hospitals, said INMO General Secretary Ms Phil Ni Sheaghdha.
She said 1,550 new nurses were graduating from Irish colleges each year, and that this was not enough to increase the number of hospital staff.