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Nurses have been left to pick up the pieces – and now they’re turning away, says Nessa Childers

Press Release

Monday 10 Mar 2014

If the Government expects them to work for as little as €22,000-a-year, it’s no surprise that fewer young people are being drawn to nursing, Nessa Childers MEP said this morning.‘We know that our healthcare system is in tatters,’ the independent politician added. ‘And all too often it is the frontline staff – especially in the area of nursing – that have to pick up the pieces.

‘In recent years, this country has seen many talented young nurses move abroad to the likes of Canada, Australia and Britain because the pay being offered to them at home is truly abysmal.

‘And now Leaving Cert students are turning away from the profession altogether.

‘What a terrible legacy of austerity,’ Ms Childers said.

Figures released by the Central Applications Office show that demand for nursing places has fallen 5.5 per cent in 12months.

The HSE says it needs to shave €10million off its nursing budget this year. James Reilly wants newly qualified nurses to work for around €6.50 an hour, which is less than the minimum wage, and also plans to abolish payment to final year students working full-time from next year.

‘This is yet another way in which the Troika is hitting younger people – the very same generation that struggles to find a permanent job, buy a home or access affordable childcare,’ Ms Childers continued.

‘Now the most recent CAO figures are there in black and white: it’s clear that coupled with emigration, there is shortly going to be a massive shortage of nurses in this country. And of course, that once again impacts directly on patients and potentially costs lives.’

She also asked: ‘Why is it that the HSE ascendancy, complete with mammoth salaries, still remains absolutely untouchable?’

A total of 62,345 students have applied for third-level places via the CAO system. The Leaving Certificate begins on June 5.