A pilot project will be introduced at a number of hospitals to allocate nurses according to the needs of particular patients rather than the size of the ward. 

The €2m project will begin later this year and will end the practice of calculating nurse staffing levels based on ward size and instead allocate nurses according to the needs of the particular patients in that ward.

It will be tested in general and specialist medical and surgical inpatient units in several small and large hospitals.

It will use a new method to calculate staffing numbers and skill mix for acute hospitals set out in a new Framework Report being published today.

The system will replace the "one-size-fits-all" approach with a range of factors when calculating safe nurse staffing and skill mix.

Details of the project were announced by Minister for Health Leo Varadkar at the Mater Hospital.

The main aim of the project is to stabilise the nursing workforce, improve care for patients and make  hospitals a healthier and more attractive work environment for staff.