Plan to increase number of nurses in EDs: Department of Health report

A new report to increase the number of emergency department nurses and healthcare assistants has been published by the Department of Health.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly launched the Report on Phase 2 of the “Framework for Safe Nurse Staffing and Skill Mix in Adult Emergency Care Settings in Ireland”.

This report sets out, for the first time, a methodology to determine the appropriate number of nurses and healthcare assistants required for Emergency Departments and Injury Units based on the number of patients presenting and their care needs.

The Framework incorporates international evidence, consultation with key stakeholders and is rigorously tested through a pilot test which took place across three Emergency Departments: The Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Cork University Hospital, South Tipperary University Hospital, and one Injury Unit, in the Mid-Western Regional Hospital Ennis.

For this plan, €3 has been made available to the Health Service Executive.

Speaking at the launch Minister Donnelly said: “The pilot programme demonstrated compelling evidence that having the correct nurse staffing levels and skill mix, based on patient need, has many positive impacts for patients, organisations and the staff themselves”.

Implementation of the framework demonstrated, in addition to reduced waiting times, other positive patient benefits including a significant reduction in the proportion of patients that leave Emergency Departments without being seen for treatment.

Nursing staff reported an increase in job satisfaction during the pilot and improvements in quality of care being delivered. The pilot also showed some encouraging evidence of financial benefits with a decrease in the use of agency staff.

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