Press Release

Minister Martin announces establishment of Expert Group on Midwifery and Paediatric Nurse Education and gives details of proposed new Nurses Bill

The Minister for Health and Children, Micheál Martin, TD, today (7 May 2004) announced the setting up of an Expert Group on Midwifery and Paediatric Nurse Education and gave details of the proposed new Nurses Bill.

Commenting on the Expert Group, Minister Martin said, “while a number of studies have been carried out in recent years, a comprehensive strategy for the future of midwifery and paediatric nurse education, encompassing all of the issues involved, is now required.”

” I will announce the composition of the Expert Group, and its terms of reference shortly.”

Other significant issues which will be addressed include:-

  • The capacity of the health system to provide clinical placements
  • Lecturing and teaching resources
  • Relationships between the third level sector and the maternity and childrens hospitals
  • Workforce planning, recruitment and retention, and skill mix
  • The working environment and scope of practice
  • Industrial relations
  • Service implications, and
  • Value for money

Commenting on the proposed new Nurses Bill, Minister Martin said that the preparation of the heads of a new Nurses Bill were at an advanced stage, and he hoped to seek government approval to have the bill drafted very shortly.

The purpose of the bill is to amend the Nurses Bill, 1985 to address the recommendations of the Commission on Nursing, to modernise the regulatory regime for nurses and midwives, and to bring coherence and consistency to the regulation of health professions, generally. New legislation for the regulation of social care professions, and amendments to the Medical Practitioners Act are also in course of preparation, Minister Martin said.

The main features of the proposed nurses bill include:-

  • That the general concern of An Bord Altranais be the protection of the public
  • The provision by the Board of professional guidance and support to nurses and midwives
  • Revised fitness to practice procedures, and
  • Separate statutory recognition of midwifery.