Offaly TD calls for pay equality for nurses
Carol Nolan TD for Offaly-North Tipperary has spoken out in defence of nurses and midwives seeking pay equality, permanency and safety from assault in the workplace.
Speaking last night in Dáil Eireann in support of the Sinn Féin motion on Nurse and Midwife Pay and Conditions; Deputy Carol Nolan TD stated that, “the depletion of nursing and midwifery staff from our Health Services and the gradual erosion of their working conditions have reached catastrophic proportions."
"It is undeniable that if issues of pay, retention and recruitment are not addressed as a matter of urgency, the crisis will impact severely on medical outcomes for patients.”
Speakers on the debate revealed the extent of the crisis within the nursing and midwifery profession as the sector is haemorrhaging personnel from within the service and failing to attract new entrants, which is having a detrimental effect on workplace planning, recruitment and retention.
"Key factors include longer working hours than their European counterparts; the absence of permanent contracts and the increased incidents of personal assault in the workplace. During the period January 2011 and July 2016, the number of assaults in the workplace on nurses and midwives increased for 673 to 3,462," Carol explained.
She stated, “Irish nurses who leave this country arrive with an internationally recognised Quality Standard which is much sought after, whilst those who remain at home to minister to us are treated contemptuously by the State."
"Irish nurses and midwives work longer hours, and at greater risk to their personal safety, than any of their European colleagues. They are contracted for 78hours per year - the equivalent of two whole working weeks - more than their UK or Canadian counterparts, and on top of this an average of 34 non-psychiatric nurses and midwives are subjected to workplace assaults per month.”
Referencing the overcrowding in Tullamore Hospital and the tremendous strain put upon nursing and midwifery staff, Deputy Nolan concluded, “I urgently call on this Government to introduce measures which will ensure the retention of existing staff complements and secure the recruitment of new entrants."
"This will only be achieved by the instatement of pay equality and permanent contracts across all grades of professionals on the pay scale, and the introduction of new workplace safety measures to reduce the incidents of assault.”