Government today launched Framework for Safe Nurse Staffing and Skill Mix

The Irish Nurses' and Midwives' Organisation has warned Health Minister Simon Harris that today's launch must be fully-funded and rolled out nationwide as soon as possible to save lives.

The union said there is an urgent need for "immediate investment in the recruitment and retention of nurses and midwives, including improvements in pay, without which the necessary nurses will not be available for implementation".

A spokeswoman for the INMO added: "The evidence from the testing of the Framework shows overwhelmingly that a funded national roll out of the Framework, associated with pay adjustments to improve recruitment and retention of nurses, will save lives, make services safer and reduce costs for our health services.

"The INMO has lobbied government to introduce an evidence-based approach to determining nurse staffing levels since the introduction of the moratorium on staffing and the subsequent introduction of the detrimental 20% lower salaries for new entrant nurses in 2012, which caused a mass exodus of nurses from the country leaving workplaces dangerously short.

"Following this pressure, the then Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly, established the Taskforce on Staffing and Skill Mix for Nursing in September 2014, which led to the development of the Framework."

INMO general secretary, Phil Ni Sheaghdha added: "Using this evidence-based approach to determine nursing staff requirements will be a first for Ireland and will challenge those who believe that there are adequate nurse staffing levels currently.

"The implementation of the Framework would lead to dramatic improvements in patient outcomes and it would revitalise and re-energise nursing staff."

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