Thursday, 7 February 2019
Nurses and Midwives Industrial Action: Statements
Regarding the question from Deputies Boyd Barrett and Bríd Smith about safe staffing levels, I am pleased that we ended the embargo on recruitment and are recruiting more nurses and midwives but I accept and do not dispute that we have a way to go. The Deputies are right. We have agreed a task force on safe staffing and skill mix, which the unions have accepted, which is the framework and Government policy and which has a scientific and evidence base behind how many nurses and other skills are needed on each ward. We have rolled that out to a number of wards and hospitals. There is room to do more in this regard. The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and I have been very clear in our utterances in recent days. These are the sorts of discussions we want to be having with nursing unions through intensive engagement using the industrial relations mechanisms.