Fixing housing crisis key to retaining nurses and midwives

Galway Daily news Galway City Council has announced plans for a social housing development of 84 apartments and houses in Knocknacarra.

The availability of affordable housing in large cities and towns is key to retaining nurses and midwives, the INMO has said.

The nurses and midwives union described last week’s Daft rental report as ‘grim’, but said it was a reflection of what many nurses and midwives are experiencing in many parts of the country.

The report found that in Galway city, the average rent stood at €1,713 during the third quarter of 2022 – an increase of 16.4% on Q3 last year.

Elsewhere in the county it rose by 12.2% to €1,249.

The report shows that one-bedroom apartments in the city were €1,142 on average (up 15%), and a two-bedroom house was €1,333.

Rents for three and four-bedroom houses in the city rose to €1,594 and €1,948 respectively.

General secretary of the INMO Phil Ní Sheaghdha said that the lack of suitable available accommodation and increasing rents is having a hugely negative impact on their ability to retain nurses and midwives in cities and towns where there is significant pressure on the rental market.

“Affordable accommodation in close proximity to healthcare settings should not be a pipe dream for nurses and midwives who work long hours,” said Ms Ní Seaghdha.

“Immediate provision and supports must be made to allow these essential workers to live within a reasonable distance of their place of work.

“Provision of housing assistance, subsidisation, and zoned areas in any planning for hospital builds such as the new National Children’s Hospital or the proposed new elective hospital in Cork City.”

She said that nursing and midwifery managers are now advising that all cities and big towns are affected.

“The current model of recruiting is not sufficient and is costly and time-consuming and is undermined due to the inability to retain the same essential grades due to lack of available accommodation and extraordinarily high costs of accommodation when sourced.

“Nurses and midwives earn modest incomes and if we want to have some hope of ensuring that hospitals in Dublin and other large urban areas such as Cork, Limerick, and Galway have safe staffing levels we must ensure that there are homes that nurses and midwives can afford to live in.”