A survey of graduating nurses which will be published later this month will show that more are prepared to stay and work in Ireland because of improved pay.
The general secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), Phil Ní Sheaghdha told RTÉ radio’s Today with Sean O’Rourke show that pay has been an important factor in getting nurses to remain at home.
She was commenting on a decision by the HSE to ‘stand down’ its campaign to bring Irish nurses back home from overseas. The HSE said the Bring Them Home campaign brought back 120 nurses since July 2015, when it was launched with the promise of recruiting 500 nurses from Britain alone.
HSE records released under Freedom of Information last year said three nurses had returned under the scheme between January and July 2018. The figures also stated 15 nurses were recruited under the relocation package in 2017, down from 82 in 2016 and 20 in 2015.
“We need to ensure that Ireland remains a place where nurses want to remain to work,” added Ms Ní Sheaghdha.
She said that the trend to leave had been very high.
The HSE had “not actually been putting a whole lot of effort” into the Bring Them Home campaign, claimed Ms Ní Sheaghdha.
Despite the conclusion of the campaign, the HSE will continue to pay relocation costs and there will be a bonus of €1,500 for those who stay for more than 12 months.
However, she warned that nursing remains in crisis with staff shortages leading to unsafe work conditions.
So far this year 279 HSE staff (249 of them nurses) had been assaulted in public hospitals, she said.
This was an unfortunate side effect of shortages and was “too real” for members of the INMO.
The INMO also revealed that there were 7,392 patients without hospital beds in the month of June.