20-bed nursing home unit idle due to lack of nurses
A 20-bed nursing home extension, which could accommodate patients from a Dublin hospital regularly hit by A&E overcrowding, cannot open because of a lack of nurses.
Peter Jones, chief executive of the 47-bedded Orwell nursing home in Rathgar in Dublin, said the opening of the unit would help place some of the older patients in St James's Hospital who need to be discharged because they no longer need acute care.
However, like scores of private nursing home chiefs, he cannot recruit nurses and is critical of the backlog of applications by nurses wanting to work here whose registration is delayed.
He was among a group of nursing home owners who handed in a letter to Health Minister Leo Varadkar yesterday calling for urgent action to relieve the crisis.
His concerns were echoed by Matthew McCormack, who runs Newpark care centre in north Dublin and regularly takes patients from Beaumont and the Mater Hospital.
The action, organised by Nursing Homes Ireland chief executive Tadhg Daly, was supported by Polish nurse Tomas Baily whose application for registration was submitted with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) in May. He says he has been unable to get through to the NMBI by email or phone.
In response, the NMBI said it is making progress tackling the huge increase in applications for registration.
In 2015 so far, NMBI has granted 1,043 new registrations overall. This compares to 634 new registrations in 2014 and 629 in 2013.
Between January 2015 and September 2015, NMBI received 1,423 overseas applications.
This compares to 680 overseas applications over the same period last year.
In addition to the huge increase in applications, many have been submitted with incomplete documentation.
It is continuing to do its utmost "in the face of significant resourcing and funding challenges" to improve the application process.
A new helpline with an enhanced service that will facilitate applicants tracking their applications in real-time is imminent. A new RCSI programme providing an alternative option to those applicants who must successfully undertake an adaptation placement as a pre-requisite to registration has been given the go ahead.