INMO calls for publicly-funded nursing places at colleges

Ireland’s health services will be under severe pressure unless places are increased.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has called for additional publicly-funded and – provided college places following the publication of a Government-commissioned report.

The report, which states that the intake of nursing students will have to double in the higher education system in the next twenty years, should be prioritised alongside the Expert Review Group on Nursing and Midwifery’s recommendation to review the undergraduate nursing and midwifery programmes, said the union.

INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha said:   

“The INMO has long warned that Ireland’s health service will be under even more severe pressure unless the amount of undergraduate nursing places is increased and that Ireland will not be able to uphold its obligations under the WHO’s Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel. The INMO has been flagging this as an issue to Government and the HSE as far back as 2016.   

“The Government have ignored their obligation in this regard for some time. We must thank all those who have come from non-EU countries, their contributions have and continue to be significant in the delivery of healthcare in Ireland.   

“We must now ensure that any additional places that are provided are publicly funded. It is not enough to just provide the college places, we must ensure that the Irish health service is an attractive and safe place to work upon graduation. Unfortunately, this is not the case for the Class of 2022. 

“Alternative pathways to nursing and midwifery must be prioritised. Additional places must be reserved for those who complete pre-nursing courses in our colleges of further education.   

“It is not enough to provide sufficient undergraduate places. Safe staffing levels must be provided for in teaching locations in order to allow for safe and appropriate learning.  

“Ireland must continue to recruit staff from around the world, but also to train more ourselves. We train far fewer nurses and midwives than we need, but we know that thousands more want to join the nursing family.  

“Over 4,363 students put a nursing or midwifery course as their first choice on their CAO this year. We provide 1,700 places. The demand is there for our profession but we must ensure that nursing and midwifery is an attractive career pathway for young people by fast-tracking recruitment and retention measures.”