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INMO demands 'major staffing boost' to combat Covid-19

The demands were made at the organisation’s annual conference.

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THE INMO HAS said that frontline nurses and midwives need a major staffing boost urgently to deal with the pandemic, according to an emergency motion passed at its annual conference today.

The motion called for more funding to implement a number of new conditions including mandatory weekly Covid testing. 

The motion in full called for:

  • Repeal of the derogation policy which brings potentially Covid-positive healthcare staff back to work before completing their self-isolation period;
  • Powers to be restored to Directors of Nursing and Midwifery to hire the staff they need urgently;
  • Funding to implement the safe staffing framework for nursing;
  • Mandatory weekly Covid-19 testing for all staff in acute and community healthcare services.

The HSE has claimed that 1,600 additional nurses have been hired since May. However, the INMO said that 1,300 of these are not qualified nurses, but are in fact students who have been temporarily hired.

Since December 2019, approximately only 240 additional staff nurses and midwives have been recruited, according to the INMO.

INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said: “The message from our members is clear. Frontline nurses and midwives simply do not have enough staff to do the job safely.

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“Our members are facing risky Covid environments with high levels of fatigue. This will only intensify as winter approaches. If we want to provide safe care and protect staff, we simply need to increase staffing. Our unpaid student nurses are being relied on to fill vacancies and this not acceptable.

“Our members have instructed us to seek these measures from the government and report back within six weeks on any progress made.”

Latest stats from the CSO show that health care workers now make up 7% of cases compared to a peak of 36% in April. That equates to around 2,850 key workers.

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