Statement from Minister Harris in response to the INMO
The Minister is pleased the INMO Executive Council confirmed their commitment to the Lansdowne Road Agreement. Within the context of public sector wide engagement, the Minister notes that Minister Paschal Donohoe met with the ICTU last night and that contact at official and Ministerial level will continue over the coming period.
Commenting the Minister said : “I look forward to meeting with the INMO next week as part of my ongoing engagement with them on important issues relating to the health service. I was pleased recently to be able to restore the incremental credit for over 4,000 nurses who graduated between 2011 and 2015, adding over €1,000 to their salaries. In addition nurses now get paid extra for taking on some duties from doctors.
“However I am very well aware of the challenges with recruiting staff nurses and nurses with specialist skills in specific areas. We are competing with all other western countries to attract and retain nurses in specific areas. The HSE continue to implement schemes and programmes to attract nurses back to Ireland and I have made it clear that I want a major focus on driving these programmes and getting results”, said the Minister.
There has been an increase of almost 1,200 nurses employed in the public health service (34,336 to 35,534) from September 2014 to September 2016, numbers having fallen by almost 4,600 from 2007 to 2014. The total budget for the health service in 2017 is €14.6 billion, the highest budget ever allocated to the health service and this will allow us to add 1,000 nurses by way of the substitution of agency staff to permanent positions and the recruitment of additional frontline staff to meet service needs.
“I am adamant that this significant re-investment in our healthcare service will work to improve our health service for patients and frontline staff. We need to work together to make sure this is the case”, concluded the Minister.
The Minister also pointed out that these are the latest positive measures which have been introduced, as part of the Lansdowne Road Agreement, in the last year to boost the recruitment and retention of nurses. Other measures include the first stage of pay restoration under the Lansdowne Road Agreement and permanent contracts for all graduating nurses.