Time To Care: A Spotlight On The Hospital Workforce In Ireland

Author:Ms Maria Quinlan

In November 2017 we published our report Time to care: Securing a future for the hospital workforce in Europe. The research for the report examined how hospitals in 14 countries across Europe are responding to the challenge of clinical workforce shortages in the face of growing demands from people with more complex health care needs. It identified universal concern about workforce shortages and the lack of time for hands-on care. Last week, Deloitte Ireland published it's Time to care report supplement, based on its analysis of our research evidence on the Irish healthcare system, particularly the findings from the Irish cohort of our crowdsourced survey.

A spotlight on Ireland

Ireland is facing most of the workforce challenges featured in the European report including increasing demand for hospital care and difficulties in attracting and retaining the requisite clinical workforce in a tight labour market. This has been compounded by difficult economic conditions over the past decade with pay freezes and hiring embargos within the public system. While these constraining factors are no longer in place, the HSE is still feeling the impact of these policies on staff satisfaction, morale, attraction and retention.

Facts and figures about the Irish Health care system

Ireland has a population of 4.7 million, with a comprehensive, publically-funded national health care service. The Health Service Executive (HSE) is the largest employer in the country, employing over 105,000 people, approximately 45,000 of whom are doctors and nurses. In 2016 there were:

1,692,009 inpatient and day case discharges, up 2.5 per cent from 20151 1,296,571 emergency department attendances, up 5.1 per cent from 20152 10,592 acute beds, an increase of 1.1 per cent from 2015 but a decrease of 12.6 per cent since 20073 an average length of stay of 5.4 days, a decrease of 0.7 per cent since 2015 and 9.2 per cent since 20074 7,999 physicians employed in hospitals, an increase of 5 per cent since 20155 23,994 nurses (and midwives) employed in hospitals, an increase of 1 per cent since 2015.6 The views of the Irish hospital workforce

The Irish cut of the Time to care report focuses on the crowdsourced survey data captured from hospital respondents in Ireland (82 hospital workers, 28 doctors and 54 nurses). Thirty three of the respondents were female (40 per cent) and 49 were male (60 per cent)). A majority (91 per cent) work in the public/non-profit hospital sector.


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