Tuesday, 27th October 2015

Anthony Lawlor, Fine Gael TD for Kildare North, has said that progress is being made in addressing nursing shortages, which is welcome news for Naas Hospital. Deputy Lawlor was speaking after he received a parliamentary reply on the matter from Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar.

“Addressing the nursing shortage is crucial in ensuring efficiency and better waiting times in our hospitals. The progress reported to me by Minister Varadkar is welcome news for Naas Hospital.

“The Minister informs me that as of 13th October 2015, 1,495 nursing applicants have been registered this year, the highest in many years, up 139% on the same period in 2014. Over half of these are Irish-trained applicants.

“The Department of Health is working to expedite this process and temporary measures have been put in place to ensure all applications received are dealt with in a timely manner. The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) state that there are currently no backlogs in processing the post.

“We are also encouraging overseas nurses to register in Ireland. Seven adaptation programmes have been held for the nursing home sector since 2014 in order to allow them to register here. Five adaption programmes will be held in 2016. At 23rd September 2015, some 405 places have been made available so far on these courses.

“Another recent positive development was the launch of a new overseas call centre service by NMBI in response to the significant increase in applications for registration from overseas nurses and midwives. In July, the HSE launched an International Staff Nurse Recruitment Campaign which focused on the UK to attract Staff Nurses to jobs in Ireland. In this campaign, there was a particular emphasis on targeting Irish Nurses who have left Ireland in recent years and want to return home. The HSE is currently in the process of expanding this recruitment initiative outside the UK and Europe, in order to fill service vacancies.

“Minister Varadkar confirmed to me that thanks to the recovering economy, the HSE can once again offer full time jobs to nurses and midwives. There are many initiatives currently underway to improve nursing staff levels throughout the country. These include offering full time permanent contracts to the 2015 degree programme graduates and moving from the use of agency staff to permanent staff. All of this means a brighter future for nursing in Ireland and for hospitals like Naas General.”