Annual INMO conference to begin in Kilkenny
Nurses and midwives are gathering in Kilkenny for their annual conference today as fresh details emerge about staffing levels at one Irish maternity unit.
Internal HSE documents - seen by the Irish Daily Mail - show that at one point in January, there was one midwife overseeing 70 births in Portlaoise.
The ratio currently stands at one midwife per 50 births, and the recommended standard internationally is one per 29.5.
The HSE says the hospital is managing activity levels within this year's resources.
The theme of this year's three-day INMO conference is 'safe care', and the group claims the health system has cut 5000 nursing and midwifery posts since 2009.
General Secretary Liam Doran says nurses are struggling to cope with increased demand despite reduced services.
"Every nurse feels they can no longer provide the quality and quantity of care that their patients require and that's a source of great concern," Mr Doran said.
"(It is) one message that we have to give to the Government and the minister over these three days."