Press Release

Statement by Minister for Health Leo Varadkar on the INMO industrial action

Minister of Health Leo Varadkar has welcomed the decision of the INMO to defer industrial action in seven Emergency Departments pending a ballot.

“The agreement made this week is a good one for nurses, patients and taxpayers. It adheres to the requirements of the Lansdowne Road agreement which provides for pay restoration for public servants from January in return for industrial peace.

“Even though we have managed to take on more than 750 extra nurses and midwives in the last 12 months, recruitment in some areas can be a struggle, especially in high pressure environments like Emergency Departments.

“This new agreement provides for an education grant for nurses and midwives who join the Public Health Service from outside, whether from college or the private sector, provided they stay for more than 12 months. This is a recoupment of fees scheme in respect of vouched spending on further education. Notwithstanding the associated costs, I believe this will be of benefit in recruiting, retaining and upskilling our nurses.

“The approval of additional promotional posts will ensure that more senior staff will stay in Emergency Departments where their experience is so valuable to patients and other staff alike.

“Other measures including those relating to health and safety make sense and will be broadly welcomed.

“This agreement will not in itself resolve overcrowding in our Emergency Departments, which is now easing, but it will help us to provide better and safer care to patients while in our Emergency Departments. And extending the education grant to all new nurses will help us to open the extra beds we need to implement the ED Taskforce plan.

“I want to thank the Workplace Relations Commission, HSE management, my officials and the INMO for their work over the weekend and today to prevent this strike.

“I hope that ED nurses will now vote in favour of the package agreed last night at the Workplace Relations Commission and that the planned action in January will not arise.”