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Tuesday, 13th October 2020

INMO welcomes €4bn health budget boost but say it needs to be spent well

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INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha.

The Budget’s €4 billion extra spending on the health service is much needed, but needs to be spent well, the INMO has said. 

The union broadly welcomed the record investment, in particular the expected spending on: 

  • the long-underfunded National Maternity Strategy,
  • the Safe Staffing Framework in Nursing, which sets staffing levels scientifically, based on patient needs,
  • the start of the transition to a single-tier health service, as set out in the Sláintecare plan,
  • additional funding for disability and hospice services,
  • increased public care of the elderly in home and residential care settings. 

The union will be seeking greater detail on the budget plans, along with a meeting with the Minister for Health. The union’s key additional budget priorities include: 

  • Extra training and education capacity – in particular to get more ICU nurses trained urgently,
  • Recruitment powers returned to Directors of Nursing and Midwifery – to ensure that hiring is not mired in red tape,
  • Improved pay and powers for nurse and midwife managers,
  • A fair deal for student and intern nurses and midwives – who have made an extraordinary contribution during the pandemic. 

INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said: “This is a very welcome, substantial and much-needed increase in the health budget. The extra four billion is not only a necessary response to COVID, but recognition of the indispensable work that our members do in the health service every single day. 

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“Health funding cannot be like a tap – switched on and off from year to year. We need to see multi-annual, clear commitments to building capacity, getting staffing right, and moving to a universal healthcare model. The money needs to be spent well. 

“There are clear funding needs in the short term for COVID, but the government cannot take its eye off the ball for medium and long-term reforms. 

“That means a scientific method for safe staffing in all care settings, implementing the long-overdue maternity strategy, and building up Ireland’s capacity to train and retain nurses and midwives.”

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