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Shortage of nurses in Letterkenny and across Ireland; HSE contract for more agencies

DUBLIN: The nursing crisis is worsened across Ireland, and the shortage of 55 nurses at Letterkenny University Hospital, as well as the issues it raises, have already made headlines. Although HSE runs rolling recruitment drives for nurses and midwives within the country, fresh graduates are hesitant to apply.

It has been criticised that the country’s negative attitude towards health workers is forcing new people to leave here.

According to Neal Donohue, the INMO’s Industrial Relations Officer for the north west, it is difficult to attract and retain employees for hospitals in locations like Limerick due to their geographical location.

“There is an opportunity at the moment to get more people back from countries such as Australia and the UK. They have been away from family for a long time so there is potential. The first thing they will ask others in the sector here is what conditions are like and they will be told they are horrendous at the moment,” Mr Donohue said.

Neil Donohue says there is a lot of stress among employees and this can lead to a lot of sick leave and hospital services are under a lot of stress.

“It is not just in the Emergency Department, if you look at medical or surgical wards they don’t have the right amount of staff so the patient is not going to get the right care at the right time which has the potential for adverse outcomes,” he said.

Mr Donohue said the problem here is that health and safety issues are addressed to the ‘deaf’. “If you take care of your staff they will stay around. It is the same small group of people shouldering for too long,” he said.

“We firmly believe recruitment has to be a priority for nurses and midwives and we know that world-wide Irish nurses and midwives are renowned for their skill and work ethic,” Mr Donohue added.

Meanwhile, more agencies have received HSE recruitment contracts this month. It is learned that international recruitments, including from India, will begin this month.

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