NEWLY qualified nurses who cannot get a job are being considered for a JobBridge scheme, which will allow them get work experience while drawing social welfare, writes Eilish O'Regan.
Health Minister Dr James Reilly said he was in talks with the Department of Public Expenditure on starting the scheme. This would reduce the reliance on agency staff and allow nurses to build up expertise and a consistency of care in one hospital.
He was speaking after the Irish Nurses' and Midwives' Organisation said a survey found that nurse staffing levels here were significantly below those of the UK, impacting on patient care. An average 25-bed surgical ward in Ireland has six fewer staff than one in a hospital in Britain.
Salary costs in Ireland are much higher and a nurse here earns around €44,000 compared to a nurse in the UK on €36,000.