Press Release

Minister O’Malley Addresses SIPTU Nursing Convention

Mr Tim O’Malley TD, Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children, today (Tuesday, 21 March 2006), addressed the SIPTU Nursing Convention in the Southern Hotel, Sligo.

The theme of the convention is Change – Challenges and Opportunities. Minister O’Malley spoke of the advances in nursing education that have taken place in recent years, highlighting the new undergraduate degree programmes in midwifery and childrens and general nursing which will come on stream later this year. These new programmes will reduce the time it takes to produce midwives and childrens nurses. Minister O’Malley said that the additional 240 training places per annum will provide an “exciting and attractive career option for school leavers as well as more mature students”.

The Minister also spoke about the level of violence and aggression being experienced in parts of the health service. He said that attacks on staff “are totally unacceptable” and the health and safety of staff must be paramount. Minister O’Malley welcomed the recent establishment by the HSE of a joint employer – union group on work related violence which will develop policies on prevention of violence and aggression and support structures for staff who are attacked.

The Minister concluded by acknowledging the contribution of nurses and midwives to delivery of services across many different healthcare settings and he stated that “the standards of our nurses and midwives are second to none”.