Press Release

Cowen welcomes decison of Nursing Unions to accept Labour Court Recommendations

The Minister for Health and Children, Mr Brian Cowen T.D. today (Friday 5 November 1999) welcomed the decision of the members of the four nursing unions to accept the recent Labour Court reccomendations.

“It is very good news for patients, the nursing profession and the health services in general that the focus of attention can now return to the delivery of quality services to all patients, including those who had appointments cancelled as a result of the recent strike”, the Minister said.

The Minister has asked to meet with the Nursing Alliance next Tuesday to discuss the way forward for nursing in the light of the Labour Court recommendations and the need to advance implementation of the Commission on Nursing. He has also assured the Nursing Alliance that the Department and the Health Service Employers Agency will begin work immediately , in co-operation with the alliance, on the implemenation of the Court’s reccomendations.

In response to recent comments about a major rise in hospital waiting lists as a result of cancellations during the nurse’s strike, the Minister said:

“Firstly, there have been various figures touted in the media recently regarding the current waiting list figures. This comes as a surprise to me as there are no current waiting list figures for the post – strike period. The situation is that I have requested all hospitals to provide me with the numbers waiting for elective surgery on 31st October, 1999, and until this information is available it would not be possible to give an accurate picture of the current waiting lists.

“What is certain is that I am determined to ensure that those patients who had appointments deferred are seen as soon as possible. Regardless of the strike, health agencies will strive to meet the service targets set down earlier this year as outlined in their service plans. I wish to assure the public that sufficient financial resources are available to deal with the needs of those patients directly affected by the dispute.”