Gerry Adams TD backs Nursing staff
Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has called for an independent commission to be established to look at all aspects of nursing, including working conditions, pay adjustments, and upskilling.
The Louth TD was addressing the Dáil during a Private Members Motion tabled by Sinn Féin which seeks to put a focus on the ongoing crisis in the recruitment and retention of the nursing and midwifes professions.
Teachta Adams said:
“The failure of the government to honour past commitments on the recruitment and retention of nursing and midwife staff is making the crisis in our health service worse.
"I was in Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda this week visiting a former member of the Dáil, Paddy Agnew from Louth, who has been waiting for over a month on an appointment to the National Rehabilitation Hospital.
"The National Rehabilitation Hospital is seriously under resourced. I have raised this with the Minister. One thing that Paddy said to me, and I’m sure he speaks for the vast majority of patients, is the great work being done by nurses and other health workers.
"Nurses and midwifes are in the frontline of this crisis, trying to ensure that sick citizens are properly cared in a safe environment. This crisis exists at all levels from Accident and Emergency Departments, elective surgery, waiting lists, and the recruitment and retention of nurses and midwifes and it impacts on every hospital, including Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda.
"Last month saw the highest ever number of patents on trolleys – over ten and a half thousand citizens.
"Nursing and midwifery staff make-up 33% of the public health workforce and the profession is predominantly female. They work longer hours than nurses and midwifes in other states like Britain and Canada. It is no wonder that there is a high turnover rate among nursing staff or that almost 80 per cent of student nurses are considering emigrating for better pay and working conditions.
"The government recently published its “Framework for Safe Nurse Staffing and Skill mix” which is based on international research and was piloted in three hospital sites, including Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.
"But it means nothing unless the necessary investment is made to provide for the recruitment and retention of nurses and midwifes; including an agreement with the unions on full pay equality.
"It is time for real action, decisive action, to resolve the crisis in health. The government should agree with the unions realistic proposals for recruitment and retention of nursing staff and midwifes; a roadmap on how to achieve full pay equality, and establish an independent commission on nursing.
"We need a plan to attract students to the nursing and midwifery profession in the face of global competition. This means addressing the key issues of working conditions, facilities, supports, training opportunities and pay.”