Thursday, 7 February 2019
Nurses and Midwives Industrial Action: Statements
What this is about, as well as pay, is staffing levels. All our young nurses are going abroad and, at the same time, we cannot attract nurses to open the other beds in Kenmare Community Hospital. I saw the determination in the nurses' faces last Tuesday in Killarney and Tralee, where I was with them in the pouring rain. The Government promised them that when the country was turned around, it would restore their pay.
Just a week ago, the Minister, Deputy Donohoe, sat there and said he was going to put billions into a rainy day fund. If he has the money to put into a rainy day fund to save the banks or bail out the banks at a future date, he must pay the nurses first and he must pay the people as he promised he would do - he must pay them first. He must get talking around the table with these nurses' organisations with no preconditions, please.
As I said, we need to protect nurses' safety and patient safety, which is at risk due to not having enough nurses and enough protection in our hospitals for them. It was sad to see the state of one girl who will never again be able to work after what happened her in one of our hospitals. I appeal to the Government to get around the table without any preconditions.
We have highly trained young nurses going abroad. Why is that happening? It is clear they are not getting the right opportunities and that they are being treated better abroad. The Government must address this issue or it may bring it down.