Press Release

Minister Martin launches Nursing Education Forum Report

The Minister for Health and Children, Mr Micheál Martin T.D., today (Wednesday, 24th January 2001) launched the Report of the Nursing Education Forum.

The Nursing Education Forum was established in early 1999 in response to a recommendation of the Commission on Nursing. Its task was to prepare a strategy for moving pre-registration nursing education from the present three-year diploma programme to a four-year degree programme. The Forum was chaired by Dr Laraine Joyce, Deputy Director of the Office for Health Management.

Minister Martin announced that the Government has agreed in principle to the introduction of nursing degree education for the intake of nursing students in Autumn 2002, subject to the satisfactory resolution of funding and outstanding industrial relations issues. Direct discussions are currently taking place between the third-level institutions and the nursing unions in relation to the basis on which nurse teachers will transfer across to the higher education sector on the commencement of the nursing degree programme. The Department of Health and Children is facilitating these talks.

Minister Martin also announced the Government’s acceptance of the Forum’s recommendations for the establishment of an Inter-Departmental Steering Committee and a National Implementation Committee.

The Steering Committee will be composed of representatives of the Departments of Health and Children, Education and Science, Finance and the Higher Education Authority. It will have responsibility for all funding and policy issues associated with the transition to a degree programme. The Forum estimates that a total of £135m capital and £12.2m revenue funding will be required to finance the transition.

The National Implementation Committee will oversee the implementation of the nursing degree programme. It will be chaired by Ms Mary Rose Tobin, Personnel Manager with the Institute of Public Administration and will comprise representatives of the various stakeholders in nursing education, including An Bord Altranais, health service providers and the third-level institutions.

Minister Martin acknowledged the invaluable role of nurse teachers in producing a workforce of excellent nurses who enjoy the highest national and international repute. He also paid tribute to the contribution of nurse teachers to the overall development of the nursing profession.