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Increase in nursing and midwife college places needed urgently – Rose Conway-Walsh TD

12 May, 2021 - by Rose Conway Walsh TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Further and Higher Education, Rose Conway-Walsh TD, has called on the government to take immediate action to expand nursing and midwife courses by 250 places.

Speaking today on International Nurses Day, Teachta Conway-Walsh said that the government need to ‘join the dots’ on nursing shortages and limited third-level education places.  

Teachta Conway-Walsh said:

"Today is International Nurses Day and across the state, patients and their families are sharing their stories of how nurses have shown them and their loved ones incredible care and compassion at difficult times. It's clear that nurses form the backbone of our healthcare system. The government needs to recognise this with more than lip service and create extra nursing and midwife college places to invest in the future.

“The situation is severe. We currently have 1,819 undergraduate places each year. That is less than in 2009. We have not increased the number of places available in nursing since 2017. This is despite repeated calls from across the healthcare sector. 

“The WHO has also warned of global shortage of nurses that could impact our ability to rely on healthcare professionals trained abroad. 

“While nurses and other healthcare workers from abroad make up an essential part of our healthcare system, we should be aiming to become self-reliant in training and retaining nurses and midwives in our public health service. 

“The government needs to join the dots on the nurse shortages and the lack of places in colleges for young people. There is an alarming lack of planning and forward thinking. 

“Over 5,000 Leaving Cert students put nursing or midwifery as their first preference in the CAO. It is not that young people do not what to become nurses and midwives it is that the state is failing to provide the training. 

“We have both a need and demand for these course places. 

“Sinn Féin would increase places by 250 this year. And continue to increase numbers until we reach 2,500 annual new entrants. 

“Almost 4,000 students enrol on pre-nursing courses every year with little hope of being able to study nursing at degree level. 

“Sinn Féin would also ensure a larger number of these places were reserved for student pre-nursing level 5 courses in the state."

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