Nurses protesting at St Luke's Hospital
In the last six months, 200 years of nursing experience has been lost from the A&E department of Carlow/Kilkenny's St Luke’s Hospital.
A “massive loss of senior nurses,” caused by retirements and resignations of nurses with up to 20 or 30 years experience each, is just one example of the crisis in recruitment and retention of nursing staff that brought local nurses out in protest this week.
Members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) gathered at St Luke’s Hospital with placards, on Monday, as part of a national campaign to highlight the severe shortage of nurses in the Irish healthcare system.
Across the country 2,500 more nurses are needed, according to the INMO. Two years ago, when a survey was undertaken, it was calculated St Luke’s needed 25-30 full time nursing positions.
Liz Curran, Industrial Relations Officer with the INMO, said figures show it is not just new graduates who are now going overseas to work, experienced nurses are leaving the Irish system for better pay and conditions in the UK, Australia and other countries.
“The system is at crisis point,” Ms Curran stressed.
Not enough nurses can be recruited to replace those leaving. In 2017 St Luke’s Hospital spent €830,000 on agency nurses, local TD Kathleen Funchion said earlier this summer.