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Nurses At Work This Weekend In Spite Of Work To Rule. 06/04/07

        

JOINT PRESS RELEASE, Friday 6th April 2007

INO and PNA confirmed today that all nurses rostered to work this Easter weekend will be reporting for duty and will be carrying out the full range of direct patient care responsibilities.  Although the nationwide work to rule continues over the weekend, both unions maintained it will not impact on patient care, which they claim has “probably improved as nurses and midwives were relieved of the burden of excessive clerical/administrative/telephonist/IT duties.  These duties have been heaved upon them in recent years by a HSE management who have taken nurses and midwives for granted with their insatiable hunger for increasingly more bureaucratic statistical information, they said.

Agreed contingency plans, the unions confirmed, were in place in most of the large hospitals and, while they had imposed severe difficulties for managements who found themselves rostered around the clock just like nurses and midwives, they had reduced or eliminated the impact on patients.

INO rejected suggestions that there was a need for total exemptions in particular services or hospitals and said it had, from the outset, ensured the special relationship between clinical nurse specialist and individual named patients would not be compromised.  “The relationship between specialist nurses and their patients have been protected and calls for service wide exemptions which suggested otherwise are unnecessary and are more likely to place undue stress on the patients than the work to rule itself.  Co-ordinating committees are available at each location and are dealing, on a daily basis, with any and every patient centred concern raised.” according to Liam Doran, General Secretary, INO.

The HSE’s response to the work to rule, so far, according to Mr. Doran, has been a mixture of “propaganda and scaremongering”.  Issuing figures alleging that the average salary of a nurse is €56,000 are grossly misleading as they are based on a crude averaging of the total nursing pay bill inclusive of all grades and employer costs.  If the same exercise was carried out for Prison Officers the average salary would be in excess of €58,000 per annum or An Garda Siochana €57,000.  Ironically, he said, the HSE do not make figures available for any other grade of staff in the health service or do the same averaging.  “The maximum pay for a senior staff nurse, after 21 years of service, is €45,603 per annum” he said.  Mr. Doran went on to say that while the HSE had suggested that nurses and midwives had a 74% increase in the last ten years, they failed to mention that grade 5 and executive officers got 76½%, social care workers got 80%, therapy grades got 101% and play specialists 126% in the same time period.  The 103% increase which they stated was paid to Directors of Nursing over the past ten years was well and truly topped by other managerial grades in the health service who got a whopping 132% increase in the same period according to Mr. Doran.

“One would have to question the wisdom of an employer running down their own staff with such propaganda and, at the same time, refusing to engage meaningfully towards the resolution of the dispute.  The HSE is investing a lot of time, energy and huge amounts of money in PR in an effort to get the public on side.  Obviously patient care is not on their agenda and, in spite of their repeated efforts, they have not succeeded in breaking the morale of nurses and midwives or diminishing them in the eyes of their patients.  The HSE would be better served by focusing their energies into finding a resolution to this dispute instead of hiding behind the cliché “Benchmarking is the only game in Town” which is patently untrue and about which INO/PNA have produced ample evidence to show that imagination and creativity have been used to resolve even more intractable disputes within the public service.” he concluded.


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Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (Cumann Altrai agus Ban Cabhrach na hEireann). The Whitworth Building, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7. T:+353 1 664 0600 E:inmo@inmo.ie