Shortfall of nurses blamed on ‘horrendous conditions’

A shortfall of around 55 nurses at Letterkenny University Hospital has been blamed on “horrendous working conditions” with nurses looking to move away from the intensity of acute hospital jobs into other areas.
That is according to Neal Donohue, the INMO’s Industrial Relations Officer in the north west. He told the Donegal News yesterday that the geographical location here was contributing to difficulty recruiting and retaining staff at the hospital.
“There is an opportunity at the moment to get more people back from countries such as Australia and the UK. They have been away from family for a long time so there is potential. The first thing they will ask others in the sector here is what conditions are like and they will be told they are horrendous at the moment.
“If you take care of your staff they will stay around. It is the same small group of people shouldering for too long. There is also a serious concern that health and safety issues are falling on deaf ears,” Mr Donohue said.
He did say the HSE run rolling recruitment drives for nurses and midwives but will new graduates realistically stay around if conditions are so poor.
“Unfortunately it is exceptionally difficult at the moment as we want to see a high standard of care and appropriate staffing levels. There is a high demand on the service at present and we do not have the full staffing compliment with around 50 nursing vacancies.
“There is a lot of increased stress among staff leading to higher sick leave and services are under a lot of pressure. We need to have staff here with the right qualifications to get people through the hospital swiftly.
“It is not just in the Emergency Department, if you look at medical or surgical wards they don’t have the right amount of staff so the patient is not going to get the right care at the right time which has the potential for adverse outcomes. The patient could go back out into the community and return a second time with further problems and that creates more pressure.
“We firmly believe recruitment has to be a priority for nurses and midwives and we know that world-wide Irish nurses and midwives are renowned for their skill and work ethic,” Mr Donohue added.

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