Nurses' union worried about staffing levels
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation says it will be seeking confirmation from the HSE that safe staffing levels will be maintained in the health services despite the cuts announced in the 2013 service plan.
The union said the plan confirmed its worst fears about the challenges facing the public health service arising from its budget allocation from the Government.
“The Government must realise that the health service cannot continue to lose excessive amounts of staff, in an unplanned way, while at the same time responding, safely, and appropriately, to the increasing volume of demand for treatment,” said the organisation’s general secretary Liam Doran.
Fianna Fáil said it would be seeking an early meeting of the Oireachtas health committee to discuss the plan. Health spokesman Billy Kelleher claimed Minister for Health James Reilly and the HSE were hedging their bets with a less detailed plan than last year because of their disastrous budget management in 2012.
He said the plan was “high on aspiration, and high on get-out clauses”. “Usually with these plans the devil is in the detail. But in Minister Reilly’s case the devil is often in the delivery.”
Sinn Féin health spokesman Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin described the service plan as a blueprint for “slashing” services. Mr Ó Caoláin said the cut to disability services of 1.2 per cent was four times what was expected by the sector.
Age Action expressed fears that older people may face lengthy periods on a waiting list for a nursing home – following an admission in the plan that a “placement list” will operate.
Tadhg Daly of Nursing Homes Ireland said the HSE was reducing the numbers supported by the Fair Deal scheme by a minimum of 196 people this year which would have a significant impact.