Frontline nurses need a major staffing boost to deal with the demands of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This afternoon the INMO passed an emergency motion calling for powers to be restored to the Directors of Nursing and Midwifery to hire the staff they need urgently.
The HSE claimed to have hired 1,600 additional nurses since May, which the INMO says is not true.
According to the organisation, 1,300 of those places are filled by students who are not fully qualified and on a temporary hire. They say that only 240 additional staff nurses and midwives have been recruited since December 2019.
The emergency motion also calls for a repeal of the derogation policy which brings potentially Covid-19-positive healthcare staff back to work before completing their self-isolation period, extra funding to implement the safe staff framework for nursing, and mandatory weekly testing for all staff in acute and community healthcare services.
"If we want to provide safe care and protect staff, we simply need to increase staffing. Our unpaid student nurses are being relied on to fill vacancies and this not acceptable," general secretary of the INMO, Phil Ní Sheadghdha, said.
“That means giving managers the powers to hire, ending the derogations policy which risks infecting more staff, increasing staff testing, and funding a proper staffing plan."
Outgoing president of the organisation, Martina Harkin-Kelly, said the message couldn't be simpler. "We should not be left asking ‘please sir, can we have some more?’
“One-in-12 Covid cases have been nurses and midwives. We have been disproportionately hit by this virus — it’s time for the minister to act on our concerns,” she added.