Minister O´Malley, Junior Minister at the Department of Health and Children spoke at the AGM of the Irish Practice Nurses Association
Mr Tim O´Malley, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Health today (3/10/03) spoke at the AGM of the Irish Practice Nurses Association in Limerick. In his address, the Minister said “primary care should be the cornerstone of modern health services by preparing strategies that highlight the importance of a team-based approach to care. The Health Strategy and the separate primary care strategy, both launched by my colleague, Minister Micheál Martin in 2001 pointed the way forward for the future delivery of health services. Primary care is centred on the needs of individuals and groups of people and the primary care team will match their needs with the necessary competencies required to meet them.”
The Minister also said that while the Department of Health and Children has no role in the setting of salary scales for practice nurses, it does provide allowances towards these costs. Having a practice nurse is a major bonus to a general practitioner since he/she contributes to the running of an efficient and effective practice. By working with the doctor to agreed protocols they can provide a wide range of services to the clients/patients which are easily accessible and delivered locally.
The Minister also mentioned that in 2001, 2002 and 2003 the Department of Health and Children had provided some funding for the NUI Higher Diploma Course in Practice Nursing to the Royal College of Surgeons and concluded by saying that in line with the Government’s commitment to the Commission on Nursing recommendation on Primary Care, it had entered into negotiations with the Irish Nurses´ Organisation and the Irish Practice Nurses´ Association on the implementation of a Practice Nurse Facilitator for each board. Their area of responsibility centres on progressing motivational and organisational issues in terms of people and procedures. These posts continue to be funded by the Nursing Policy Division of the Department.