Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Student Nurse Applications.

7.

asked the Minister for Health if he is aware of the very large number of applications for positions as student nurses at Galway Regional Hospital and at Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, County Galway and of the small number of positions available in relation to the number of applicants; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

The number of applications for admission to nurses training schools in this country has always been far in excess of the number of places available. As with other similar professions the number of training places provided is geared to the country's national manpower requirements. This is a matter which has to be kept constantly under review so that there is neither a serious shortage nor a serious oversupply of qualified nurses. The nurse student intake in relation to population in the Western Health Board area is somewhat higher than the national average.

How many applications for positions as trainee nurses were received by Galway Regional Hospital?

The number of applicants for the post of trainee nurses was 1,450 and the number of places was 94.

Has the Minister any plans to provide employment or facilities whereby the disappointed applicants in Galway can obtain posts as trainee nurses elsewhere?

The number of places in Galway Regional Hospital for trainee nurses was 94. It is general in all our hospitals that the number of applicants for the nursing profession is far in excess of the number of vacancies. Surely the Deputy is not suggesting that we should recruit more nurses than we require.

There is a shortage of nurses. Is the Minister aware of that?