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Increase in nursing school places needed

THE number of places available for students to study nursing in Ireland should be increased, according to Councillor Gabriel Keating. At a recent meeting of Clare County Council, he said, “An increase in points is being driven by the shortage of undergraduate places in our universities and institutes of technology. “The number of placements in general nursing programmes reduced from 1,870 places in 2009 to 1,500 places in 2015, due to the HSE decision that year to reduce the number of places as a cost-saving measure, given that as part of their education trainee nurses receive a payment when there are on placement in hospitals.” He said that nursing courses are becoming increasingly difficult to access. “For example, midwifery and nursing courses in UCC were both 445 points, while general nursing at UCD, IT Tralee and Trinity were all 425 points. “It is clear at this stage that the only way forward is to allow the 13 nursing schools to …

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University Hospital Limerick.

Uncertainty over emergency department opening date

CONCERN is growing over the lack of a definitive date for the opening of the new Emergency Department (ED) at University Hospital Limerick (UHL). UL Hospitals’ Group chief executive officer Colette Cowan told a recent HSE West Forum meeting that she hoped the new ED would open at the end of May, subject to funding and the recruitment of new nurses. Ms Cowan stated that about 20 of the 30 nurses required for the new ED have already been hired and the group confirmed this week that a few more have been employed since that meeting. However, Councillor Tom McNamara has expressed concern about the lack of a definite date for the opening of the new department. Councillor McNamara has called for an initiative to incentivise the retention of nurses in acute hospitals, such as providing free training to those studying nursing provided they stay for five years in the public system after they graduate. The Fianna Fáil councillor said …

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New video-link GP service for Kilrush

Plans have been unveiled for the provision of a video-based remote doctor service in Kilrush, as efforts intensify to halt cutbacks in the out-of-hours Shannondoc service in West and East Clare. It remains to be seen if this will satisfy campaigners seeking a full restoration of GP out-of-hours services throughout the county. Under a new rationalisation plan, which was supported by doctors at a recent annual general meeting, Shannondoc’s Kilrush and Ennistymon services will relocate to Miltown Malbay during weekdays, with the same operating hours applying. Kilrush and Ennistymon will only now open at weekends until 7pm. Shannondoc is to introduce a video-based remote doctor service at its Kilrush centre, allowing it to remain open nightly for two hours. The new service provides for a remote doctor to connect with the Kilrush clinic via a secure, high-definition video link. Patients will contact Shannondoc as they normally would and a triage nurse will first determine if the patient requires a GP …

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Nurses reject proposals to avert industrial action

Members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), working in the country’s 26 emergency departments, on Tuesday evening rejected, by a margin of 58% to 42%, proposals, brokered by the WRC, to address overcrowding, staffing and patient safety issues. The INMO Executive Council, in response to the ballot result, has convened a National Meeting, of the Emergency Department Strike Committees and Representatives, for 12 noon, on this Thursday, in INMO Head Office. In addition, the executive council has sanctioned the first day of strike action, involving two hour rolling stoppages, for Thursday, January 14 ,with subsequent days of action following later. The INMO Executive Council, at a special meeting today, also reviewed the feedback from information meetings held in recent weeks. At these meetings it was clearly stated that members have no confidence, in local management, to deliver, on a 24/7 basis, the required changes to improve the environment for both patients and staff in Emergency Departments. This lack of confidence was confirmed, in …

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Ennis nurses provide cover in Limerick

Regular transfers of nurses from Ennis Hospital to cover staffing shortages at University Hospital Limerick has heightened fears about future downgrading. HSE Forum West chairman, Councillor Tom McNamara, has registered his concern about why nurses who are rostered for duty in Ennis Hospital are being requested to report for duty at UHL on an ongoing basis. At a forum meeting in Galway on Tuesday, he said, “This is giving out the wrong message about Ennis Hospital. Clare people are worried that Ennis Hospital is being downgraded by the fact that staff are being moved out of the hospital to deal with a situation in UHL. “The HSE needs to deal its staffing shortage in UHL as quickly as possible. I know that it is not easy to get additional staff but the go-ahead has been given for more recruitment,” he said. While Councillor McNamara acknowledged there is a lack of staff at UHL, he claimed it is creating the wrong …

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University Hospital Limerick.

Nurses defer strike action in local hospitals

Clare acute patients breathed a collective sigh of relief on Tuesday morning after a last-ditch deal averted nurses’ strike action in Ennis Hospital and other local hospitals. Over 1,000 nurses in the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) and SIPTU had voted to commence a work-to-rule in University Hospital Limerick, Ennis Hospital, Nenagh Hospital and Croom Orthopaedic Hospital at 8 am on Tuesday. However, this action was deferred late on Monday night after a new deal brokered between the unions and management at the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) secured the recruitment of an extra 70 nurses for the UL Hospital Group. The planned work-to-rule would have seen nurses withdraw from all non-emergency clerical and administrative duties. SIPTU health organiser, Tony Kenny said nurses had based their decision on the extreme level of overcrowding in UHL, the lack of agreed nursing levels and failure by management to agree a fair, equitable and workable solution to ease this problem. He said the …

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University Hospital Limerick.

Limerick hospital to recruit nurses

The Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Limerick is to recruit 23 nurses to help manage the load in emergency department, local TD, Kieran O’Donnell, has confirmed. “I am pleased that the hospital is recruiting for nurses to address the overcrowding issue. This is absolutely vital. This is being done in tandem with a campaign to recruit another 25 nurses for roles elsewhere in the hospital,” the Limerick deputy said. “Last September, I met with Minister Leo Varadkar with the purpose of getting a new short-stay unit open in order to deal with the overflow from A&E. That short-stay unit was opened, and I understand the unit and its staff complement will be used to alleviate pressure in the interim period, while we wait for the new A&E to be completed. “It has been a matter of great concern to me that we have to face two to three winters before the new facility will be open. Increased pressure during winter has been a …

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