Some updates for this week:
1. Ireland now has a new government. Minister Simon Harris has moved on from the Department of Health. We have thanked him for his work and wished him well in his new role. While the INMO has often had disputes around the government’s health policies, we sincerely appreciated that he was always open to discussion and regularly met with INMO members to hear your concerns first-hand.
As you know, he is being replaced by Fianna Fáil’s Stephen Donnelly. As opposition spokesperson for health, we had a number of meetings with Deputy Donnelly and we have contacted him to wish him well in his new role. We have also sought an early meeting to set out matters of importance to you at this extraordinary time and will advise you of the response we receive.
2. At the Workplace Relations Commission, we are pursuing a claim on your behalf on childcare costs, premium pay losses due to COVID leave, and non-payment of senior nursing managers who worked additional hours since March. Proceedings at the WRC began yesterday (Thursday 2nd). The WRC adjourned the hearing following initial talks, requesting that the employer come back to the Commission with proposals by 24th July. The parties are to meet again on that date and we will update you immediately after that.
3. The Oireachtas has set up a specific committee to look at the response to COVID-19. We are continuing to raise issues of concern for members, making three further submissions to the committee recently. One looks at the ongoing issues in the nursing home sector (here), while the other looks at the health service’s overall capacity in non-COVID areas and COVID areas. We are also preparing another submission on the long-term impacts of COVID-19, which will be heavily informed by the 6,500+ INMO members who filled in a recent survey on this.
Finally, you may have seen that the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Tony Holohan, has stepped aside this week for family reasons. Dr. Holohan has done a great service to public health in Ireland during COVID-19. On behalf of nurses and midwives, the INMO has passed on our collective appreciation and support to him and his family at this most difficult time.
Is mise le meas,
Phil Ní Sheaghdha