Health service bosses in Ireland have agreed to postpone planned nurse job cuts until a patient risk assessment has been carried out.
Ireland’s Health Service Executive have agreed to defer the cessation of 21 fixed term and temporary nursing contracts in three hospitals – Portlaoise, Tullamore and Mullingar – following talks with unions.
The deferment has been made to allow time for detailed assessments of the potential clinical risks that may result from the cuts.
Lorraine Monaghan, industrial relations officer at the Irish Nurses Organisation, said: ‘This process will focus on safe staffing levels, clinical risk and the impact of staffing reductions on patient care.
‘The INO have no doubt, that such risk assessments, when carried out in an open and transparent manner, will uncover dangerously low staffing levels in all three hospitals’.
Ms Monaghan said there had already been a ‘considerable reduction of nursing and midwifery staff in recent months’ following an HSE recruitment freeze.
‘The effect of taking a further 21 nursing staff out of the three Midland Regional Hospitals, would most certainly have a detrimental effect on patient care and ultimately lead to fatalities,’ she said.
The INO has decided to postpone a ballot for industrial action, pending the outcome of the risk assessments.