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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 23 Apr 1985

Vol. 357 No. 7

Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Nurse-Patient Ratio.


asked the Minister for Health if he is satisfied with the ratio of nurses to patients in mental hospitals; and if he agrees that one nurse to 20 or more severely handicapped patients could lead to difficulties which could over-tax that nurse and thereby lessen efficiency.

In April 1984, there were 5,638 nurses, excluding chief and assistant chief nursing officers, caring for some 11,250 patients in our district psychiatric hospitals. This gives a ratio of one nurse to two patients which, by international standards, represents a very high ratio of nurses to patients.

The allocation of nurses between wards in any particular hospital is a matter in the first instance for the chief nursing officer, having regard to the needs of the patients in the wards concerned. Arrangements are now being made in individual hospitals to implement integration of nursing staff and of wards following agreement at national level. This will afford opportunities for better allocation of staff.