A HSE recruitment ban has led to major delays and cuts to services, which is putting patients at serious risk, nurses have warned.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has compiled a list of vacant nursing and midwifery positions, which are not being filled due to an embargo on hiring. These posts include:
-At least 325 permanent staff nurse roles and over 120 temporary nursing posts
-103 staff midwife roles, plus over 50 temporary posts, including on labour wards.
The organisation said that there are now unfilled roles in a number of areas, including emergency departments, theatre, palliative care and care of the elderly.
It pointed out that as a result, services nationwide have now been compromised. For example, in Wexford, there will be no provision for immunisation from September.
"The recruitment ban in nursing and midwifery has got to go. Patients are being put at extreme risk, with essential services being taken from the most vulnerable. Before the ban, we had understaffing and overcrowding. Refusing to fill vacant posts is adding fuel to the flames," insisted INMO general secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha.
She said that these figures "make a mockery" of the claim that frontline services are being protected. She also pointed out that this approach to cutting costs "has been tried before and it has failed before".
"Short staffing drives up costs by delaying care and forcing reliance on expensive agency staff. We need the recruitment ban to end, for nurses and midwives to be excluded from it, and for guarantees that this list of posts will be filled immediately," Ms Ní Sheaghdha added.
Discussions on this topic are now closed.