INMO warn still no childcare solutions in place for healthcare workers

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has still secured no solutions to the issue of childcare for health workers.

INMO warn still no childcare solutions in place for healthcare workers

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has still secured no solutions to the issue of childcare for health workers.

At the moment, many of the country’s nurses are relying on their parents, volunteers, or babysitters to care for their children.

They are also being helped by temporary changes made to the staff rosters in hospitals.

But the INMO is concerned that as the COVID-19 crisis deepens over the coming weeks, these temporary measures will not be enough.

Of particular concern is when nurses find themselves having to self-isolate.

When it happened in Cork University Hospital recently, it impacted some 100 nurses.

The announcement to close schools was made on March 12. It means all schools, pre-schools and further and higher education settings have been shut down for a period until March 29.

It was a blanket ban and there was no formal provision made for the provision of childcare services for nurses caught in the front line battle against the very virus that has led to the school shutdown.

One nurse said: “Our representatives are trying to secure some kind of provision.

“It is common among a number of my colleagues for both of them in a relationship to be working for the emergency services, with say one being a nurse and the other being a guard. And if they have children, there is a huge problem about who looks after their children.

“With COVID-19, it’s no longer as straightforward as maybe being able to rely on parents or grandparents."

“As far as I know the INMO is looking for a combination of things. These include creches being opened specially for healthcare workers, the hire of childminders, reduced hours and flexible rostering.

“It’ll probably end up as a combination of things but the bottom line is - it is going to cost money and the government needs to help.”

The Department of Health, the HSE and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform were asked for a comment about the call by the INMO.

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