Irish nurses will be "prime targets" for UK hospitals following Brexit, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has warned.
According to the organisation, the UK is likely to step up its recruitment of Irish nurses and midwives following its withdrawal from the EU.
This is because UK hospitals currently recruit nurses and midwives from throughout the EU, however this is likely to become more difficult after Brexit when new migration controls are put in place.
"The Common Travel Area for Ireland and the UK means that Irish nurses and midwives will be prime targets for UK health service recruiters," the INMO said.
New figures from an INMO survey of nursing and midwifery students show that as of June 2019, almost 70% of them have been approached by overseas recruiters.
As part of its pre-Budget submission, the organisation is calling for adequate funding to ensure that safe staffing levels can be reached and maintained. It is also calling for more undergraduate places for nurses and midwives.
"After Brexit, it's likely that British hospitals will step up their efforts to draw more nursing and midwifery staff away. However, even before Brexit, the vast majority of our graduating nurses and midwives have received offers to work overseas, often in better conditions," warned the INMO's general secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha.
She insisted that the Irish health service needs to be made an attractive place to work and that means "getting staffing levels right".
"The upcoming Budget is a chance to kick start that process by investing in safe staffing and more student places. The alternative is understaffed, overstretched services, where patients suffer and staff burn out," Ms NÍ Sheaghdha added.