The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation is raising concerns that Brexit could make Ireland’s chronic nursing shortage even worse.
Irish nurses and midwives would be prime candidates for recruitment by UK hospitals after Brexit the INMO has warned in its pre-budget submission.
The UK currently recruits nurses from all over the European Union, but that will be more difficult after Brexit with travel and work restrictions expected to be put in place.
Under such circumstances Ireland could become a key target for recruiters due to the Common Travel Area, which allows Irish and British people to travel and work without restrictions outside of EU regulations.
Ireland is already suffering a nursing crisis, with short staffing at hospitals one of the key factors that consistently sees hospital like UHG severely overcrowded the INMO has said.
According to the union, as of June 2019, 68% of nursing and midwifery graduates had been approached by overseas.
When asked for the main factors that might keep them working in Ireland, 47% pointed to staffing levels and working conditions.
However 66% of respondents who plan to leave Ireland say the increases in pay agreed after the recent strike will entice them to return to work in Ireland.
The INMO’s pre-Budget submission calls for funding to reach safe staffing levels throughout the health service, more undergraduate places for nurses and midwives, and resources to fully implement the safe staffing framework, as agreed following the INMO strike earlier this year.
INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said, “Ireland’s nurses and midwives are prime targets for UK health service recruiters.”
“After Brexit, it’s likely that British hospitals will step up their efforts to draw more nursing and midwifery staff away.”
“Even before Brexit, the vast majority of our graduating nurses and midwives have received offers to work overseas, often in better conditions.”
“We need to make the Irish health service an attractive place to work, that means getting staffing levels right.”
“The upcoming Budget is a chance to kickstart that process, by investing in safe staffing, more student places, and implementing Sláintecare. The alternative is understaffed, overstretched services, where patients suffer and staff burn out.”