Press Release

Minister announces commencement of Commission on Nurses Working Hours

The Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney TD, today, the 11th of February, 2008, announced the commencement of the work of the Commission on Nurses’ Working Hours. The Commission will carry out an independent assessment of how a 35 hour week for Nurses/Midwives can be achieved, as recommended by the National Implementation Body (NIB) following last year’s industrial action by nurses and midwives.

The establishment of the Commission was approved by the Government last September, but difficulties subsequently emerged about the availability of the proposed chairperson due to judicial commitments.

The Minister is now pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Tom Collins, Head of Education Department, NUI Maynooth as chairperson of the Commission. The Commission, which will commence its work next month, is due to report within six months. “I am grateful that Professor Collins is prepared to give his time and expertise to undertake this important project and I am confident that he will ensure that the objectives of the Commission will be met within the specified timeframe” the Minister said.

The other members of the Commission are:

•Prof Alan Maynard, Professor of Health Economics, University of York

•Dr Phillip Della, Chief Nursing Officer, Department of Health, Western Australia

•Dr Siobhán O’Halloran, Director of Nursing Services, Health Service Executive

•Ms Annette Kennedy, Director of Professional Development Centre, Irish Nurses Organisation

•Mr Ben Weathers, SIPTU (ICTU nominee) •Mr Nicky Jermyn, CEO, St Vincent’s University Hospital (IBEC nominee)

The Commission will examine the international experience of best practice in the activities and deployment of nurses, and the type of flexibilities and change which would be necessary to achieve a 35 hour week.

The Commission will engage with nurses and management at national and local level as part of its deliberations.