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Public Service Pay Commission Report Fails Health Service Workers - Louise O'Reilly TD

5 September, 2018 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin health spokesperson Deputy Louise O’Reilly has said that the Public Service Pay Commission report on the recruitment and retention crisis in the health service is disappointing in the extreme for nurses and midwives, and other medical and healthcare professionals.

Speaking this afternoon, Teachta O’Reilly said:

“For many years now nurses, midwives, and their unions have highlighted the issues causing this crisis and proposed reasonable and responsible solutions to address the crisis but, there has been complete disengagement from this government on the issue.

“The Public Service Pay Commission report was supposed to analyse and assess the crisis, its causes, and how to address the problems. However, the evidence base used by the Public Service Pay Commission to compile their report was not sound, and for this reason the conclusions to which they have come to are wrong.

“As the report of the Public Service Pay Commission itself conveyed, the Minister of Public Expenditure of Reform met the Commission on 26 October, 2017, to emphasise on behalf of the Fine Gael government that 'this is not a pay review nor can it be'.

“It was clear that from the outset of this process, the government determined that a commission mandated to investigate the issues of pay and conditions was to focus solely on the issue of conditions and disregarded the issue of pay.

“It appears as if the Minister and his government were determined to establish the conclusions this report would reach before it even began. 

“In carrying out its international pay comparisons, the report acknowledged the number of nurses and midwives who chose to work in Britain rather than Ireland.

"The report however, while acknowledging the fact that pay conditions vary across England, failed to adequately address differences in pay between Ireland and London, a popular destination for our nurses were entry pay is as more than €3,000 higher.

“A pay comparison that fails to adequately address one of the most popular destinations for our nurses is fundamentally flawed.

“The report continually noted the higher level of pay enjoyed by first year nurses and midwives compared to the average starting pay of Irish undergraduates. This should not be a surprise, nor should it be a slur. Our nurses and midwives perform an invaluable service that ensures the health of the nation.

"We should expect their jobs to pay well, especially given the conditions in which they are forced to work due to a continual lack of investment and poor governance. 

“There is only one application for every four nursing and midwifery vacancies and more Non-Consultant Hospital Doctors (NCHDs) are emigrating to work and live abroad than ever before yet it appears as if the conclusion of this report was preordained by a government that is determined to talk around every issue affecting our health service, so long as it excludes pay.

"That is not comprehensive but dishonest, and to willfully ignore these issues will only worsen the state of our health service and make impossible the full implementation of Sláintecare."

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