Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has said that the healthcare workforce in the State, and across the island, is exhausted, under-resourced and at burnout levels.
His statement comes after a series of meetings with healthcare worker representatives as part of regular engagement with the sector.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“I met today with representatives of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, the Irish Medical Organisation and the Irish Hospital Consultants’ Association.
“These meetings are part of my regular engagement with healthcare worker representatives.
“Common themes emerged across these meetings; healthcare workers of all stripes are exhausted, under-resourced and facing a tsunami of catch-up care.
“Public health departments have not been adequately resourced and the outstanding issue of consultant status for public health specialists has not been resolved or engaged with.
“Healthcare workers are working excessive hours, morale is damaged and these issues won’t be resolved without filling vacant posts on a permanent basis.
“Half of all Covid-19 infections have hit nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants.
“Notably, student nurses and midwives – some of whom have returned to placements – are still being exploited.
“The Minister for Health has not published the report on their pandemic pay, advanced the second report, or taken action to end this exploitation and give them fair pay for their Covid-related work.
“Persistent Covid symptoms, known as ‘long Covid,’ presents a real risk to the workforce going forward and needs a specific focus.
“Welfare concerns, such as adequate PPE and a lack of HSA inspections of hospitals, remain outstanding.
“Serial testing of healthcare workers is only happening when there is an outbreak, when it should be used to prevent outbreaks.
“The Minister needs to be far more proactive in addressing these issues and must meet far more regularly with worker representatives to ensure their concerns are resolved.”