Press Release

Tánaiste Announces New Direct Entry Degree Programmes for Midwives and Children’s Nurses

The Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney TD, today announced her plans for the introduction of two new direct entry undergraduate midwifery and children’s nursing degree programmes next year.

The new programmes will be provided in a total of 7 third level institutions across the country at a cost of €3.8m in 2006 rising to almost €17m in 2011, when the programmes will have a full complement of students. The direct entry midwifery programme will offer 140 new places per annum and the integrated children’s/general programme will offer 100 places per annum. These places will be in addition to the 1,640 places currently in the system each year for general, psychiatric and intellectual disability nursing.

At present the only route to midwifery and children’s nursing is through a post-graduate programme (of 2 years and 18 months duration respectively). The new programmes, which were recommended by the Expert Group on Midwifery and Children’s Nursing Education (December 2004), will reduce the time it currently takes to produce midwives and children’s nurses and will put the education of midwives and children’s nurses on a par with that of other nurses.

The first intake to the new programmes will be in autumn 2006. The midwifery degree programme will be of 4 years duration, and the integrated children’s/general nursing degree programme will be of 4 ½ years duration. Applications for places on both programmes will be through the Central Applications Office (CAO).

“Midwives and children’s nurses are critical in the delivery of services to patients” said the Tánaiste. “These new direct entry programmes are designed to increase the supply of midwives and children’s nurses in response to existing and anticipated future workforce needs within a changing health service”.

The Tánaiste continued “these new programmes will provide an exciting and attractive career option for school leavers as well as for mature students wishing to make a career change and their introduction reflects the Government’s ongoing commitment to nursing and midwifery education generally”.

The Tánaiste also complimented the relevant third level institutions for their participation and co-operation in the recent negotiations regarding the introduction of the two new programmes. She acknowledged that the successful implementation of the programmes will require all of the stakeholders to work together. The new programmmes will, for example, mean a realignment of health service providers and education institutes in some instances. To facilitate the smooth implementation of the new programmes, including the issues that will arise in relation to the existing post registration programmes, an implementation group with an independent chair will be established by her Department, working with the HSE, to deal with these matters within a short timeframe.

Details of the 240 places on the new midwifery and children’s nursing degree programmes are as follows:


Higher Education Institute Partner Hospital Programme Details Places per annum
UCD Crumlin Hospital Integrated Children’s /General 30
TCD National Children’s Hospital, Tallaght Integrated Children’s /General 20
DCU The Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street Integrated Children’s /General 30
UCC Cork University Hospital Integrated Children’s /General 20
UCD Holles Street Hospital Midwifery 20
TCD The Coombe Women’s Hospital Midwifery 20
The Rotunda Hospital 20
UCC St Finbarr’s / Erinville Hospitals Midwifery 20
NUIG University College Hospital Galway Midwifery 20
UL St Munchin’s Hospital Midwifery 20
DKIT Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda Midwifery 20