0 0 Task Force, Department of Health, staffing levels, HSE

Launch of Taskforce Report on Staffing Levels

A radical new approach to nurse staffing levels in hospitals, designed to put patient needs first, was launched on February 2nd by Minister for Health Leo Varadkar and the Chief Nursing Officer Dr Siobhan O’Halloran.  The €2 million pilot project in three hospitals ranging in size from small-scale to large-scale will end the practice of calculating nurse staffing levels based on ward size, and instead allocate nurses according to the needs of the particular patients in that ward.  

Minister Varadkar was joined by the Chief Nursing Officer Dr Siobhan O’Halloran and nursing union leaders to launch the first national Framework for safe nurse staffing and skill mix in acute hospitals. The Framework will now be piloted in three acute hospitals in general and specialist medical and surgical inpatient units. It’s also the first policy paper produced by the Office of the Chief Nursing Officer. The Project Group was led by Dr Phillippa Ryan Withero, Deputy Chief Nursing Officer

Minister Varadkar said: “This approach involves a significant change of emphasis in calculating the number and type of nurses for each ward. Instead of matching the number of nurses to the size of the ward, this pilot project will match nurses to the type and number of patients on the ward, and their particular needs. This should have an immediate impact on the safety and quality of care, and on the experience of patients.

Sibéal Carolan , Institute of Leadership said “ This is a historic day for Nursing in the context of optimum workforce planning , I reviewed the document and it is excellent in terms of robustness, well done to all parties involved and in particular to Philippa “

A full copy of the report is available on health.gov.ie.


Dr Philippa Ryan Withero pictured with Minister Varadkar & Siobhan O'Halloran