Newswire » Local News » Varadkar Launches Interim Report for Nursing Staff

Varadkar Launches Interim Report for Nursing Staff


Varadkar Launches Interim Report for Nursing Staff

On Monday, Minister for Health Leo Varadkar, launched a new radical €2 million pilot scheme at the The Mater Misericordiae University Hospital. He was joined by Chief Nursing Officer Dr Siobhan O’Halloran to reveal the Interim Report and Recommendations for the Framework for Safe Nursing Staffing and Skill Mix.

In May 2014, The Taskforce On Nurse Staffing was established during Dr James Reilly’s term as Health Minister, as part of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation’s Safe Staffing Campaign. The Taskforce has been focusing on implementing a plan for patients in hospitals that will guarantee them safety and the required amount of nurses and doctors, in order to make sure that there are safe staffing levels, safe care and safe nursing practice within hospital wards and units.

Minister Varadkar stated in the new Interim Report and Recommendations: “The contribution of the nursing team to a safe health service is critical, and therefore having the right nurse in the right place at the right time delivering the right care is something that requires careful consideration and consistency in approach.”

“The framework is a result of that careful consideration and it includes the totality of the nursing team and a firm focus on patient outcomes. Now is the right to time push on with the pilot as we have begun the process of stabilizing our nursing and midwifery resource. It demonstrates a genuine commitment to building a service where patient needs are center stage.”

“This work will contribute to a more stable nursing workforce where the measurement of patient outcomes and individual patient needs are taken into account, ensuring that patient safety is to the fore when decisions on nurse staffing are being taken.”  

The report aims to increase nursing numbers to accommodate the needs of patients and not necessarily the size of the wards. The pilot project will be implemented in three hospitals, targeting general, specialist medical and surgical inpatient units.

Minister Varadkar said at Monday’s event: “This approach involves a significant change of emphasis in calculating the number and type of nurses for each ward. Instead of matching the number of nurses to the size of the ward, this pilot project will match nurses to the type and number of patients on the ward, and their particular needs.”

“This should have an immediate impact on the safety and quality of care, and on the experience of patients. It also means big benefits for staff by improving their workload, and ensuring that wards are staffed more realistically. In the longer term it should produce a more positive working environment with less turnover of staff. It shows this Government’s genuine commitment to safe patient care.”

Dr Siobhan O’Halloran Chief Nursing Officer Chair of The Taskforce on Staffing and Skill Mix for Nursing said in The Interim Report and Recommendations“This framework is the first step on a journey towards radically changing how we approach the age old problem of staffing our hospitals. It places the needs of the patient center stage and recognizes the relationship between nurse staffing arrangements and patient outcomes.”

“Research and health inquiry reports provide valuable lessons. They point to the equal importance and impact of ensuring the right mix of skills and knowledge, strong clinical leadership and a healthy culture within a hospital.”

“This new approach is underpinned by evidence based on assessment of individual patient need, monitoring patient outcomes, measuring staff experience and ward climate, as well as assessing the required nursing hours per patient day. The staffing infrastructure in a hospital is everybody’s concern. It is for this reason the decision making framework sets out a whole hospital approach designed to ensure ward to board and board to ward accountability.”

INMO General Secretary Liam Doran said on Monday’s launch: “This is a very positive day for nursing in Ireland. The Taskforce work, and it’s recommendations, offer the opportunity to move away from staffing levels determined, solely by finances, to staffing levels consistently being determined by patient need and acuity as determined and applied, by nursing staff. That is the way forward. It will, in future, prevent the dramatic reduction in nurse staffing levels which has taken place in recent years without any measure of the negative impact upon patients or staff as a result.”

In Ireland not having enough nurses and doctors on duty at hospitals have become a problem in recent years and increasingly more prevalent since the recruitment embargo. According to an article in the Irish Times last year September, 1,500 nurses and 727 doctors graduating each year couldn’t be employed because of the recruitment embargo that was introduced by the HSE in May of 2009.

The HSE’s recruitment freeze meant no vacancies were being filled, which meant that thousands of graduates were applying to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland for Certificates to allow them to find work abroad.  Irish nurses and doctors are among the favorites to be recruited to work in countries like Australia, the US and the UK, where a shortage of doctors and nurses are on the increase. Ireland lost many of its top graduates when they moved abroad to find employment.

Other reasons for them leaving, par for the fact that the recruitment embargo made it difficult for Irish nurses and doctors to find employment on home soil, was poor working conditions, training and career opportunities, and also salaries that pay less than in other countries. In the Irish Times it was reported that the HSE and the media are being blamed by many doctor and nursing staff, and that these professionals feel that they are being treated disrespectfully.

Now that the recruitment embargo has ended and the HSE are hiring staff again, graduates can once again start looking for employment here in their own country, but many won’t and according to a recent survey that was conducted in several universities, nine out of ten students are considering leaving Ireland once they have finished their studies.

The Strategy sets out the Vision, Mission and Values for the Office. It also highlights the Office’s Strategic Objectives until end 2017, as follows:

  1.    To provide expert policy input and direction to support government priorities and to optimize public investment in the health system;
    2.    To strengthen the role of nurses and midwives to optimize the scope of practice across the health service;
    3.    To enhance productivity, stability, capacity and capability of nurses and midwives and demonstrate this through the utilization of robust data intelligence;
    4.    To enable nurses and midwives to serve as full partners in health care design and improvement by enhancing leadership, competency and opportunities.

You can read the Report here:


Leave a Reply

© 1991-2014 Fountain Resource Group Ltd. · Registered Company Number: 193051C · RSS · Website designed by Solid Website Design