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Safe Staffing: Government and INMO are about to clash

Dublin: INMO and the government are set to clash over the union’s stance of going on strike this winter if the staff shortage is not resolved. The annual conference announced that if measures for safe staffing in Ireland’s hospitals are not implemented by September, nurses and midwives will go on strike. However, health minister Stephen Donnelly and the government have a different position on this matter, according to related centres.

Centres close to the Health Minister say that the demand for a suitable staffing pattern for hospitals in the country is unnecessary. Few countries in the world have legislated for safe staffing, which is based on skills rather than numbers.

Recruitment and retention problems continue even in Wales, which has introduced a law for safe staffing. The government has held discussions with experts from around the world regarding safe staffing, but these centres have stated that there is no sufficient evidence that bringing the law will be beneficial. They also point out the minister’s statement that there are 6,200 additional nurses and midwives in the country from 2019.

However, the organisation reiterated its position that a shortage of nurses and specialists is having a significant negative impact on the health sector. INMO also stated that a lack of safe staffing had undoubtedly hampered operations during the pandemic.

Minister Donnelly says Ireland has the highest number of nurses in the EU per 1,000 population. The average salary for nurses here is €63,000, including basic salary, premiums, allowances, and overtime.

The department also mentions that a 31 million euro package has been announced for the recruitment of nurses and others. In medical and surgical wards, 397 new nursing positions have been approved. 356 people have been appointed. 55 of the 71 new health care assistant positions have been filled. In the emergency department, 29 of the 101 new nursing positions approved have been filled. The health department and the minister have clarified that they do not agree with the announcement.

At the same time, Bernard Gloster, the head of the HSE, had previously stated that he was considering ending the traditional winter plan in view of the all-time emergency overcrowding and replacing it with a three-year plan. He says that patients who do not need acute medical care are being immediately shifted to nursing homes. 

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