First, we met with Dr. Moling Ryan, the chair of the Expert Review Group. This is the body that will take a modular approach, first examining pay for management grades of nursing and midwifery. After that, it will take a wider look at the future of our professions.
We used the meeting to set out our views, primarily focusing on the need for urgent salary increases for nurse/midwife management grades, given the increase in pay at the staff/enhanced salary grades. The meeting went well and the expert group’s first formal meeting will be in July, where we will further input into the process. Dr. Ryan has confirmed that he will be working independently of the Department of Health and will consult with trade unions throughout.
Second, we testified to the Oireachtas COVID-19 committee on issues relating to childcare. In particular, we sought the committee’s endorsement that any healthcare workers should have any costs or annual leave incurred for childcare reasons refunded to them, on the basis that they were still expected to attend work while schools and childcare facilities are closed. You can read our full submission on this here. This matter is also being addressed as an industrial relations claim and is scheduled for a hearing at the Workplace Relations Commission next week.
At the Oireachtas, we also raised our ongoing concerns on the rate of healthcare worker COVID infections, using data gathered by the International Council of Nurses.
Third, the INMO’s midwifery section remotely attended the congress of the International Confederation of Midwives today. The congress elected new board members and discussed constitutional changes. Key themes were the importance of midwifery for women’s reproductive choice and health, and the emphasis of midwifery and nursing as professions which stand side by side but maintain their separate identities.
Finally, we have continued the push to ensure that the first phase of the strike settlement is rolled out as soon as possible. Many more sites have come on stream and are paying or processing the new salary scales. As ever, I would strongly encourage all eligible staff nurses and midwives to apply for the Enhanced Practice salary scale if they have not already done so.
Is mise le meas,
Phil Ní Sheaghdha