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Staffing shortfall: Nurses protest at Mullingar Hospital

DUBLIN: Nurses have protested outside the Midland Regional Hospital in Mullingar over staffing shortages. The nurses opposed management’s reluctance to hire nurses, warning that patient safety and care might be risked in the coming weeks. Around 150 hospital staff took part in the protest during lunchtime.

The hospital, which needs about 400 nursing staff, has 50 vacancies. Of these, 29 are permanent positions, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO). Management denied the union’s demand that services and beds be reduced and staff schedules be adjusted owing to staffing shortages. The union intends to approach the Workplace Relations Commission in order to find a solution to the matter.

A recent cyber-attack on HSE had impacted the recruitment process for the past six to eight weeks. Although it was later resumed, the INMO pointed out that the staffing shortage was unlikely to be filled until September.

Over the weekend, 12 nurses arrived from India but they are still in the training phase until mid – September, INMO said. INMO assistant director of industrial relations Albert Murphy said the COVID pandemic and the cyber-attack posed a significant challenge to employees.

A spokesperson for the hospital and Ireland East Hospital Group said they regretted protest and understood the frustration of nursing staff. The recruitment process will resume in the coming weeks, the spokesperson added.

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