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Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Irish health service "is now critical and frequently unsafe"

That’s according to the INMO, which is to launch its Safe Staffing initiative tomorrow at its AGM.
May 7th 2014, 7:30 AM 5,858 30

THE IRISH HEALTH service is now critical, members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives (INMO) Oranisation say – and at their AGM today they will be discussing in detail what they believe needs to be done to fix it.

The 95th Annual Delegate Conference of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) will see more than 350 nurses and midwives gather in Kilkenny for the three-day event.

The organisation says that the conference will be “dominated by the realities facing members in the frontline as they strive to maintain safe care with reduced resources despite ever increasing demand for services”.

Concerns

Claire Mahon, INMO President, said:

The situation in the Irish health service is now critical and frequently unsafe. We must therefore intensify our advocacy for our patients and their welfare. We must stand up to those who would cut and dismantle our health service and highlight what we know to be wrong, otherwise patients will continue to suffer.

Since 2009, the health system has axed over 5,000 nursing and midwifery posts. To confront this issue, the INMO will launch its Safe Staffing Campaign.

This will involve the publication of a summary of all of the international research which has measured the harm done to patients as a result of poor staffing and the absence of registered nurses/midwives.

The INMO says this campaign will continue “until we secure minimum/mandatory staffing levels, determined through a systematic approach, across all areas of the health service”.

Delegates will call for the lifting of the moratorium on recruitment, and the retention of new graduates at the correct salary.

They also want the establishment of a ‘staff watch’ to monitor staffing levels/skill mix ratios.

At the conference, the members will call for additional bed capacity to tackle the ongoing overcrowding in Emergency Departments (ED).

They will also call for the further development of emergency paediatric services so that they are recognised as distinct services for children and staffed by qualified children’s nurses.

The INMO will release its trolley/ward watch figures for the first four months of this year, which it says “will confirm that hundreds of people, every day, continue to be treated on trolleys or on extra beds in overcrowded wards”.

Motions

Motions to be debated during the next three days include one calling on the organisation to begin a campaign in 2015 for the restoration of all rights, entitlements, benefits and the 37.5 hour working week, immediately after the Haddington Road Agreement expires.

On Friday, Minister for Health Dr James Reilly will address the conference at 12.30pm.

INMO General Secretary, Liam Doran said: “The growing body of academic research now supports the campaign’s message that the presence of adequate numbers of registered nurses and midwives improves the outcome for patients.”

He said that the government cannot ignore the international evidence. “It therefore needs to listen to, and accept, our call for safe staffing and stop promoting the myth of ‘doing more with less’.”

Read: Trolleys ‘overflowing’ onto corridors at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital>

Read: INMO look at patient care guidelines in wake of Francis Report recommendations>

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Aoife Barry

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