'HSE's delay in saying how many nurses they will hire poses high risks for patient care'

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The HSE is still refusing to say how many extra nurses and midwives they plan to hire in 2018, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).

The union today (Thursday) revealed that the HSE is seeking to delay publication of their funded workforce plan, which sets out how many nurses and midwives would be hired over the year.

This would mean the HSE deciding the number of nurses and midwives to hire in 2018 in September - nine months into the year.

Publication of the funded workforce plan in November 2017 was part of an agreement secured by the INMO on recruitment and retention. The INMO has referred the issue as a dispute to the Workplace Relations Commission to enforce the agreement, yet there has been no progress after several meetings.

INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: “Delay tactics like this pose high risks for patient care. We’re more than halfway through 2018, and the HSE still hasn’t confirmed how many new nurses and midwives they plan to hire this year. This is simply the opposite of best practice.”

INMO President Martina Harkin-Kelly said: “This continued breach of a national agreement by the HSE, combined with the delay in the Public Sector Pay Commission’s special report, will form part of an emergency INMO executive meeting on the 28th of August. It is simply unacceptable to go on like this.”

There are 27 patients on trolleys and the ward at University Hospital Waterford on Thursday. The nationwide figure is 336, a decrease of 15% on the same day last year when there were 393 patients on trolleys.

The hospitals with the highest numbers today are University Hospital Limerick (41), Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore (30) and Cork University Hospital (30).

Other INMO figures for Thursday include South Tipperary General Hospital (7), Wexford General Hospital (8) and Kilkenny's St Luke's Hospital (17).