Nurses and midwives express 'serious concerns' over staffing levels at Mullingar Hospital

The INMO claim that an average of 100 shifts per week are being covered on an ad-hoc agency/overtime basis

Damian Moran

Reporter:

Damian Moran

Email:

damian@offalyexpress.ie

Midland Regional Hospital

Mullingar's Midland Regional Hospital

INMO Nursing and Midwifery members working in the Midland Regional Hospital Mullingar have expressed 'serious concerns' relating to what they describe as 'deteriorating staffing levels at the hospital'. 

Hundreds of Offaly mothers and other patients from the county attend the facility in Mullingar each year.

At an emergency meeting last evening, attended by the INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, Director of Industrial Relations, Tony Fitzpatrick and INMO Industrial Relations Officer for the area Dean Flanagan, real and serious concerns were raised by INMO members in relation to the current working conditions and their ability to provide safe care across the campus.

According to the INMO, the chronic shortage of staffing in the hospital has resulted in some shifts being left uncovered, and they claim that the hospital is now 'entirely reliant on agency' with an average of 100 shifts being covered on an ad-hoc agency/overtime basis per week.

INMO members have highlighted these issues over the past number of years resulting in WRC agreements regarding staffing. However the organisation says the situation has deteriorated and now requires immediate senior HSE decisions to be made. Unsafe situations for staff and patients are a real concern for the nursing and midwifery staff at the hospital.

The INMO has today set out the staff concerns to hospital management and to the HSE at hospital group and national level. Retention and recruitment of nursing and midwifery staff to this midlands hospital remains a real problem.

INMO Industrial Relations Officer, Dean Flanagan said after the meeting, “This staffing crisis is real and requires immediate and focused attention. It is entirely unfair and unsafe to expect nurses and midwives to be able to practice safely, and to the standards set for them, in an environment where they are constantly working short”.

He added, “Employers are obliged to provide a safe place of work, and to allow safe delivery of care. The information and examples we received at the meeting do not demonstrate that these obligations are being upheld. Many INMO members cited stress, burnout and decisions to leave their jobs at the meeting last night which is simply not good enough. We are, today, raising this within all levels of the hospital management structures - locally, group and nationally with the HSE as an issue requiring immediate focused attention and will consult with members again next week in relation to progress.”