Tuesday 20 March 2018

Nurses’ register delay due to funding

One in three applications have been in the system for over a year
One in three applications have been in the system for over a year

Eilish O’Regan

One in three of the 2,016 applications from nurses who want to be registered to work in Ireland have been in the system for over a year, an Oireachtas committee heard.

The delay in processing applications, in many cases from nurses who are needed in hospitals, has been criticised in recent months.

Maura Pidgeon, chief executive of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland, said 2016 applications are currently being processed, half of which cannot progress because of documentation issues.

She told the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children that 35pc are in the system for over 12 months. The remaining 974  applications were received between January and June.

This compares to 302 received in the same period last year. Contributory factors to delay include staff and funding of the regulatory body, she added.

Meanwhile, Saolta, the hospital group in the west said it is outsourcing 6,000 of public patients to private hospitals.

They are among nearly 20,000 patients nationally who are being offered private treatment in order to have nobody waiting more than 18 months.

The Minster for  Health Leo Varadkar said nobody would be waiting more than 18 months for an operation or outpatient appointment by the end of June.

The public system has had to turn to private hospitals in order the meet the 18 month deadline with thousands offered the appointments this month.

A HSE spokeswoman said the initial assessment at the start of the year was that 4,995 patients would need in-patient or day-case treatments by the end of June 2015. Also 50,490 patients would require outpatient appointments by the end of June 2015.

“Where capacity or staffing limitations exist, procedures are being outsourced through a public tendering process,” she added.

Irish Independent

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