Nursing home owners criticise delays in registration of nurses

Department of Health says problem caused by incomplete applications being submitted

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar: Nursing Homes Ireland plans to present Mr Varadkar with a letter signed by 208 nursing home owners on Thursday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar: Nursing Homes Ireland plans to present Mr Varadkar with a letter signed by 208 nursing home owners on Thursday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

The Department of Health has admitted there are significant delays in processing the nurse registrations, but has placed the problem on the submission of incomplete applications.

The department was responding to private nursing home owners, who claim 2,316 applications are with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI), many of them for more than a year, at a time when 1,500 posts are vacant.

Nursing Homes Ireland plans to present Minister for Health Leo Varadkar with a letter signed by 208 nursing home owners on Thursday, calling on him to take control of the nurse registration crisis.

Out of control

Tadhg Daly

The department said the delays arose from a significant increase in applications, up 122 per cent this year. However, 70 per cent of outstanding applications involved incomplete documentation and could not be processed. It said a new helpline was being set up to assist people with their applications and 16 posts at the board had been approved, with seven already filled. It said the nursing home sector had failed to take up a quarter of the places on adaptation courses for overseas course since last year.

Silence

Separately, a conference heard that problems in recruiting nurses are most acute in the care of older people, where about 1,000 vacancies exist. Speakers at the national nurse retention conference said it was even more difficult to retain nurses than recruit them.

The HSE has recruited almost 900 additional nurses in the past year but the net gain is less than half this when departures are included. A recruitment campaign in the UK has been hampered by the strength of sterling and so far, 56 nurses have signed Irish contracts.