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Over 1,300 nursing and midwifery posts in Irish hospitals are being left vacant

One in six midwifery posts are being left vacant.

The INMO points to the HSE’s recruitment “pause” as the key driver of unfilled posts.
The INMO points to the HSE’s recruitment “pause” as the key driver of unfilled posts.
Image: Leah Farrell

THERE ARE OVER 1,300 vacant nursing and midwifery posts in Irish hospitals due to the HSE’s effective recruitment freeze, the INMO has said today.

Phil Ní Sheaghdha of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has said the figures demonstrate that the government is “refusing to fill frontline healthcare posts” and that patient care is being compromise as a result. 

Across staff nursing and midwifery in acute hospitals, 7% of funded posts are vacant, with 1,251 vacancies out of 17,623 posts.

Midwifery is being hardest hit with one in six (17%) funded staff midwife posts now vacant, with 284 vacancies in a workforce of 1,687.

The INMO says that care for the elderly and those with an intellectual disability is also being affected by 420 vacancies in community health services. 

The INMO points to the HSE’s recruitment controls as the key driver of unfilled posts.

The union met with the HSE on Friday evening to call for curtailment of services until staffing reaches safe levels.

“The figures are stark: the government are refusing to fill frontline healthcare posts,” Ní Sheaghdha said following that meeting.

Graduating nurses and midwives are considering their employment options as we speak. Yet despite repeated public promises from the Minister for Health that they would all have full-time permanent jobs upon graduation, the majority have not received offers or contracts.

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The HSE has rejected the claim that a recruitment freeze is in place and told TheJournal.ie that “controls” were in place on recruitment.

Health Minister Simon Harris told the Dáil in May that he believed that the controls put in place by the HSE were “sensible”

Harris had also the controls would remain in place until the end of June but a HSE spokesperson has now said they will stay in place pending further budgetary assurances.

- With reporting by Sean Murray

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Rónán Duffy

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