Press Release

Martin wants Nurses to Contribute their Full Potential in running Hospitals

The Minister for Health and Children, Mr Micheál Martin T.D., today launched the High Level Steering Group to Examine Ways of Giving Nurses a More Meaningful Involvement in the Management of their Units/Wards.

The Minister said it was encouraging to see such a broad spread of disciplines represented on the group including, Nurses, General Managers, Chief Executives, Directors of Nursing, a Consultant and Trade Union Officials. Continuing, he said ” Nurses make up over 40% of the entire health workforce. Ensuring that the 31,000 nurses can contribute to their full potential must be a key objective of the health service’s resource strategy.”

The origins of this High Level Group lie in the Report of the Commission on Nursing which was critical of the fact that nurses are not given a meaningful involvement in running the institutions in which they work. In addition, as part of the settlement of the recent nurses dispute, the Labour Court Recommendation of 27th October, 1999 recommended that the Department of Health and Children lead a programme of empowerment of nurses to tackle this problem by setting up a high level committee.

The Minister stressed that the task is long term and there is no simple instant solution to these issues. The key to success will be to develop an understanding of the different perceptions between clinicians on the ground and general managers, and is seeking ways of combining the best of both to enhance patient care.

The Minister stated “A transformation, is required therefore, from the old ‘command and control’ model where ,as the Commission on Nursing said, there was a culture of retaining information, to one of consultation and delegation of responsibility/authority with information being available to all. Participative management is our view of the future.”

This Group of Nurses, Managers and Trade Union Officials has a unique opportunity to come up with improvements which will involve nurses in a real way in the management of their wards and units said the Minister.