Childcare needed for frontline workers

INMO urges Government to provide it
  • Deborah Condon

The Government has been called on to provide childcare to frontline workers.

According to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), many healthcare workers are currently unable to go to work because of a lack of childcare, as a result of school and crèche closures.

The option of using family and friends to mind children has also been removed due to travel restrictions and the need to self-isolate, or in the case of many grandparents, cocoon.

INMO general secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha pointed out that childcare has always been a big problem for nurses, but the closure of schools and creches has "pushed the problem to breaking point'.

"Nine out of 10 nurses and midwives are women and our members cover 24/7 shifts. Childcare has always been a major practical issue in our professions, but with school and crèche closures, our members are being put under intolerable pressure.

"This has not only added needless stress at a difficult time, but has made rosters and staffing increasingly difficult,"Ms Ní Sheaghdha noted.

She said that because of COVID-19, the need to have as many nurses and midwives on the frontline is key, however this "is being increasingly compromised due to a lack of childcare".

"Practicalities aside, Ireland is asking a lot of its frontline workers. The very least that can be done is providing back-up childcare when they are facing down COVID-19.

"We have raised this issue repeatedly with the Government for several weeks, but are still awaiting a response. We have stressed to the HSE and Government that this must be dealt with immediately," Ms Ní Sheaghdha added.


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