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Nurses’ organisation warns of severe staffing pressures

Thursday, 14th May, 2020 11:45am

Ireland's health service will face even more staffing pressures unless the number of undergraduate nursing and midwifery places available is increased.

That’s according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) who this week made it clear that any measure to slow down the recruitment of staff will not be tolerated.

The call for more places came on Tuesday and marked the International Day of the Nurse, which is was also Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday.

According to the INMO, of the 3,700 nurses and midwives who joined the nursing and midwifery register in Ireland last year, 13 per cent (183) had trained elsewhere in the EU, with nearly half (1,189) having trained outside of the EU.

The INMO warned that the global pandemic means a likely drop in overseas recruitment, resulting in extra pressures in nursing and midwifery staffing in coming years.

There are approximately 1,800 spaces on nursing and midwifery courses available each year in Ireland. In 2019, 5,324 students put nursing or midwifery as their first-preference choice on the CAO.

Speaking on Tuesday, INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said that the Government must ensure that frontline staff are given the support and resources they need to do their job.

“Today is a day to celebrate nurses. We have been deeply humbled by the strong public support for our profession. During Covid-19, International Nurses’ Day has taken on an even stronger meaning for the public and our members,” said Ms Ní Sheaghdha.

“To provide safe care, we need to build up our staffing levels. Ireland must continue to recruit staff from around the world, but also to train more ourselves. We train far fewer nurses and midwives than we need, but we know that thousands more want to join the nursing family.

“Over 5,000 motivated students put nursing or midwifery as their first preference in the CAO last year. We should ensure that more places are available to accommodate them.”

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