More than 350 nurses and midwives will be in Kilkenny today and tomorrow for the 95th annual conference of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).
Among the speakers over the course of the event will be Minister for Health James Reilly and IMNO president Claire Mahon. The conference is focusing on the difficulties encountered by frontline staff as they cope with fewer resources and increased demand for services.
The event takes place in the Newpark Hotel, which, between casual and permanent staff, employs in excess of 150 people. There is likely to be significant media attention focused on the conference at noon on Friday, when Minister James Reilly addresses the delegates.
MEP for Ireland South Phil Prendergast today backed INMO general secretary Liam Doran’s call on the Government to lift the recruitment embargo.
Speaking yesterday at the INMO conference in Kilkenny’s Newpark Hotel, Mr Doran said that over 5000 nursing and midwifery posts have been lost since 2009, and 850 posts lost in the last year due to the staffing moratorium.
Ms Prendergast, who is a candidate in the upcoming European elections, said she wholly supported Mr Doran’s remarks.
“As a former midwife, I would have intimate experience of what it is like working on the frontline services, I have seen what happens when hospitals are understaffed and the effects that can happen,” she said.
“The numbers that Mr Doran cited today are frightening. Healthcare is the one area where we, as a nation cannot take a risk.”
INMO president Claire Mahon has said that the conference will reinforce the determination of nurses and midwives to protect those in their care.
“We will launch our Safe Staffing Campaign in order to achieve, and maintain, national standards of care with adequate staffing levels and a safe working environment,” she said.
“The situation in the Irish health service is now critical and frequently unsafe. We must therefore intensify our advocacy for our patients and their welfare. We must stand up to those who would cut and dismantle our health service and highlight what we know to be wrong, otherwise patients will continue to suffer.”