Nurses should be paid extra for working in Dublin as the rising cost of living continues to force workers out of the capital, an industry insider has suggested.
With Dublin now one of the most expensive cities in Europe to live in, Holles Street Director of Nursing and Midwifery Mary Brosnan believes the HSE should pay staff more for working in the city.
“I think it’s time to look at the whole Dublin weighting issue," she told The Pat Kenny Show, "if you work in a London hospital you will earn £6,500 extra as a London weighting.
“I think somehow that has to be addressed and looked at.”
Staff at Holles Street are handing in their notice with increasing frequency and Ms Brosnan said the cost of living is often cited as the reason for leaving.
“Usually, we would have about 35 voluntary turnovers - people who are leaving before their contract is formally ended,” she said.
“40 would be the most we see in any year normally.
"This year we’ve already had 62, so it’s pretty stark.”
Some nurses and midwives are leaving to go travelling, others have found new employment overseas - but many others are leaving to live in a cheaper part of the country.
“So far, out of the 63 who’ve left this year, 22, I note are going to other hospitals outside of Dublin,” she said.
“When we meet the staff who are leaving and do exit interviews, primarily the reason they are giving is the cost of rent increasing - an inability to pay the increases or an unwillingness to pay the increases because there are cheaper options outside of Dublin.”
The problem is particularly acute for younger members of staff who are paying eye watering sums on rent but not earning especially large salaries.
“When you talk to some of the younger midwives here who don’t have their own home, what they’re actually facing now is spending 50% of their income on rent,” Ms Brosnan said.
“An average salary - take home salary after all the taxes - would be something around €2,500 for one of the younger midwives who is not at the top of the scale.
“So, they might be paying €1,500 [rent] in some cases. They might be paying, on top of that, their commuting fees in and out of the city.
“There’s very few people being asked to pay less than €1,000 in rent - and that’s really stark.
“That’s a huge change in the last 10 years.”
Ms Brosnan also said the soaring cost of running a car was another issue staff were having to deal with.
“I’ve also had a midwife, only last week, telling me that she’s paying €500 a month in diesel travelling in - and she has to travel because she has to drop her children at different schools on the way,” she said.
“I know this is not unique to midwives and nurses but you just mentioned the possibility of remote working and it doesn’t work when you’re trying to provide a frontline, hands on, service.”
Main image: Nurses working. Picture by: Zoonar GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo