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Separately, the Medical Independent (MI) has learned of a policy paper on advanced nurse/midwife practice being developed at the Department of Health, which aims to significantly increase numbers. Currently, there are 207 active ANPs and six active Advanced Midwife Practitioners (AMPs) registered with the NMBI. Approximately 35,000 whole-time equivalent nurses and midwives are employed in the public health service alone.
Overall, 36 new ANPs were registered last year, the same figure as in 2015 and up from 21 new registrations in 2014, according to details released by the NMBI to MI.
Five new ANPs were registered in emergency care, and two each in acute medicine and diabetes, during 2016. One new registration occurred in a range of specialties, including perinatal mental health, tissue viability and paediatric haemoglobinopathy. Last year also saw two new registrations of AMPs, specialising in emergency care and diabetes, respectively. The policy paper at the Department is currently undergoing internal consultation and development.
“It is hoped that external consultation would be undertaken in the next four-to six-weeks,” a Department spokesperson told MI.
Mr Liam Doran, General Secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), said the appointment of advanced practitioners has been “laborious, hierarchal, cumbersome and bureaucratic”.
He told MI: “We should be much more utilising ANPs than for example, and I will say this clearly, NCHDs in non-training posts, where I think the career progression is not as doctors want, but you could certainly use ANPs.”
The closing date for receipt of the next applications for ANP/AMP registration is 1 February. There are no applications pending for ANP/AMP registration, according to the NMBI.
Meanwhile, there are now 970 registered nurse prescribers, with 90 registrations in 2016. This compares to 87 new registrations in 2015 and 130 in 2014.
The NMBI’s spokesperson noted that the Registered Nurse Prescriber Division includes midwives.