by Kate Heaney
A DISCREPANCY regarding the number of nurses short at Letterkenny University Hospital was raised at this week’s meeting of the Regional Health Forum by its Chairman Cllr Gerry McMonagle.
While Saolta were suggesting there were 23 vacancies in nursing between the Emergency Department and Surgical, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) claimed they were 85 nurses short.
Cllr McMonagle wanted to know from management what was going to be done to address this deficit.
“What is being done to address this shortage. I know in recent years you were trying to attract nurses from overseas. Staffing levels are well below par. I understand the difficulties trying to recruit more. Is it the case you are not recruiting locally?” he asked.
Saolta Chief Operating Officer Anne Cosgrove told the meeting the 23 vacancies mentioned by them did not cover the whole site.
“There has been significant recruitment in the hospital over the last year. A lot of trained nurses are travelling abroad and going into different services in the community.
“There are a lot of opportunities for newly qualified nurses in Ireland and beyond.
“Recruitment will always be a problem because it is the greatest number of the workforce on the ground. You will always have movement and the younger generation are taking the opportunity to travel,” she said.
The Saolta response stated: “A total of 88 overseas nurses and midwives took up roles in LUH since the beginning of last year where they were supported with an adaptation programme. Within the Emergency and Surgery Directorate there are currently 23 Staff Nurse vacancies in Letterkenny University Hospital.
“Recent staff nurse interviews have been held with two successful applicants for Emergency and Surgery. In addition, there is also an ED staff nurse commencing on June 19, 2023. LUH has a rolling campaign for staff nurses on the Saolta website from which there are currently 19 applicants (five are for Surgical, one for ED).
“LUH has recently advertised for site specific and department specific staff nurse vacancies. We are currently short-listing and arranging interviews for vacancies across all specialties. Through the Saolta overseas nurse recruitment campaigns, five further nurses will start in LUH in the Surgical Directorate in June 2023”.
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