Frontline nurses and midwives deserve compensation for their work and sacrifices during the COVID pandemic, the INMO’s annual conference has said.
Union delegates passed an emergency motion, restating a call it has made since last year, calling for additional annual leave for healthcare workers in compensation.
The INMO lodged a claim with government in November for ten days of compensatory leave due to fatigue and overwork throughout the pandemic. This claim has not yet been responded to.
Other countries, such as France, Denmark, and Northern Ireland have compensated their frontline healthcare staff.
Separately, the union welcomed some announcements in the Minister for Health’s speech to conference, including commitments to:
- End the delay in paying student nurses and midwives for their placements,
- Offer all nursing and midwifery graduates permanent positions in the health service,
- Deliver a strategy for supporting workers facing long-COVID,
- Renewed, regular engagement between management and health unions
- Increase in the number of Advanced Nurse and Midwife Practitioners to maintain a 2% level,
- A commitment to roll out the Safe Staffing Framework.
Responding to a speech from the Minister for Health at the conference, INMO President and practicing nurse, Karen McGowan said:
“We are not looking for a pat on the back or a kind word. We are seeking tangible compensation for the burden we have been asked to bear. Since November, we have sought ten days of special, compensatory leave.
“This leave is not only morally just, given the past year. It is also practically necessary. Leave would give us time to recuperate, rest and ready ourselves for work in a post-COVID world.
“The alternative, I fear, is burnout, resignation, and depletion of the nursing and midwifery workforces.”
INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said:
“We are glad to note that the Minister has committed to measures to recognise healthcare workers’ contributions, but we are disappointed that his speech today did not offer any tangible sense of what that will be.
“Compensation is a major priority for our members and something which we will be seeking urgent action on from government.
“The Minister has made several important commitments on students, ANPs, and the future of our professions, which we welcome and look forward to working with him on.”
The text of the Minister’s speech is here: inmo.ie/attachment.aspx?doc=5612
The response from the INMO President is here: inmo.ie/attachment.aspx?doc=5611
The annual conference runs today until roughly 2pm. A public livestream is here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqPTeL0Po7I
The text of the Emergency Motion passed at the conference this morning is below:
“Conference condemns the failure on the part of Government and HSE, to respond to or address the INMO claim for ten days compensatory respite leave.
“INMO members have endured since the commencement of the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Hazardous working conditions:
- Extraordinary and swift roster changes;
- Cancellation of annual leave;
- Redeployment and reassignment within and across the Public health service and to the private nursing home sector:
- Regularly working beyond their shifts and missing breaks;
- Working with the incumbrancer of wearing PPE over Long hours; and
- The Highest level of Exposure to Covid 19 in their workplace.
“Conference calls on Government to acknowledge, as other administrations have, the special contribution and extraordinary risks endured on behalf of the community, by frontline patient-facing staff. Words are not enough.”
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