Donnelly must tackle safe staffing levels to keep nurses and midwives in Ireland

Senator Annie Hoey image
04 May 2023

Labour spokesperson on further and higher education and Oireachtas Health Committee member Annie Hoey has urged minister Donnelly to tackle safe staffing levels to prevent a mass exodus of student nurses and midwives from our shores.

Responding to a survey published by the Irish Nursing and Midwives Organisation (INMO) stating that 73% of intern nurses and midwives feel staffing levels in their workplaces were not sufficient to support a positive learning environment, Senator Hoey called on Minister Harris, a former Health Minister, to apply pressure to his cabinet colleagues to better support students.

Senator Hoey said:

“Labour wholeheartedly supports the INMO’s call for safer staffing across the health service, and better supports for students and interns in particular. I’m particularly surprised at former Health Minister and the current Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris’s lack of focus on addressing these key issue for student nurses and midwives.

“Almost three quarters of student nurses and midwives believe the current work environment does not produce a positive learning environment. It’s disgraceful and an utter failure of Fine Gael to tackle systemic issues in the health system.

“Indeed, the INMO’s survey found that 33% of those surveyed said they would delay their departure from our shores if staffing and working conditions were improved. We need to see action now to keep newly qualified graduates here in Ireland.

“There is no one in Ireland that doesn’t appreciate nurses, but a big bualadh bos means very little to struggling student nurses who feel ignored by Government when they raise serious concerns about their workplace. It’s unfair and unreasonable to expect any worker in the health service to pick up the pieces from Government failure to manage the system.

“Our student nurses and midwives are the future of the health service. Government can’t expect them to stay when the working conditions are so poor that they are essentially impeding them from delivering the world class care that our health workers are renowned for.

“Minister Donnelly and Minister Harris must come before the Oireachtas Health Committee and provide an update on Government plans to rectify the situation for students and for all healthcare workers. We need to make working in Ireland a viable option for these graduates, or they will take their skills and their qualifications to countries that can offer them a better future.”

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