The main nurses union in Ireland is accusing the government of being more concerned over budget cuts than patient care, reports the Irish Times.

At a conference in Dublin  the Irish Nurses' and Midwives Organisation has warned of increase mortality rates in Irish hospitals unless changes are made. The group said that its members had "never been more frustrated."

Liam Doran, the union's general secretary, said he was concerned about further cuts which could lead to a decline in patient care.

“At the moment I don’t see any floor for the Irish health service, we still have the moratorium in place, we still have beds closed on an increasing basis, we still have community services being cut back and now we are told X hundreds of millions more has to come out for the fourth year in a row," he said.



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“All we are told is ‘you have to do more with even less next year’. That can’t happen.”
The Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust in England also had representatives who addressed the conference on the problems encountered when finances were the top priority.

Poor standards put patients at risk and that between 400 and 1,200 patients had died unnecessarily from 2005 to 2008, an inquiry into the trust has found.

The union released a statement  before the event saying the Irish health service was under “unbearable pressure” and had lost nearly 3,000 nurses and midwives in addition to the closure of 2,317 beds.

“Mid Staffordshire has said that nurses and midwives cannot be silent. They cannot be silenced by the system, they cannot be emasculated by the system, they have to have the courage, when they believe care is being compromised, to speak up and speak out," said Doran.

“When that doesn’t happen, patient care and mortality rates actually increase and we have to listen and learn. We can’t pretend that we are not going to make the same mistakes as other health systems have when finance has been given priority.”