The leadership of the INMO nurses’ and midwives’ union held an emergency meeting on 10 November to discuss possible industrial action in response to the announcement by the Health Services Executive that it was extending its current recruitment freeze to almost all nursing and midwifery grades until the end of the year. The union said that the announcement came without documentation or consultation with the union and a request for a meeting was declined. INMO calculates that there are currently around 2,800 nursing and midwifery vacancies in the health service, which urgently need to be filled. The following week a joint INMO-Royal College of Midwives conference discussed staffing and workloads across the whole of the island of Ireland with a survey revealing that 88% of respondents said they were currently understaffed most of the time. This was having a negative effect on their ability to provide safe care and give adequate attention to those in need of maternity and midwifery services. Recruitment and retention of midwives was a major challenge, with 72% of respondents saying they had considered leaving the profession in the previous 12 months, and 48% of those citing workplace stress as the number one reason.
Union addresses staffing shortages across nursing and midwifery
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