asked the Minister for Health if, having regard to the extent that health authorities, particularly in relation to long stay wards in hospitals, are becoming increasingly dependent upon State enrolled nurses, he will again discuss with An Bord Altranais, and take all such steps as may be necessary to give, recognition in Ireland for State enrolled nurses and the provision of training facilities within the State; and if he will make a statement on the growing shortage of nurses and the steps being taken to deal with the situation.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - State Enrolled Nurses.
The introduction of a grade of nurse similar to that of the State Enrolled Nurse in England has been studied carefully by An Bord Altranais and a report has been submitted to my Department. This report states that there does not, at present, appear to be a real need for a second grade of nurse. An Bord have emphasised, however, that-these recommendations only refer to nursing conditions in Ireland, as they exist at the present time, and may change quickly, if regionalisation or amalgamation of hospitals takes place.
Representations have been made to my Department by the Dublin Health Authority urging the introduction of a grade of nurse of this type and the case made by that Health Authority is based mainly on their experience of State Enrolled Nurses who have been trained in England and who have taken up employment in the Health Authority's institutions. Arrangements are being made for officers of my Department to visit these institutions and to study how the employment of these State Enrolled Nurses is working out. Following this examination of the position, my Department will be in communication with An Bord Altranais about the question.
There is no general shortage of nursing staffs. Recruitment difficulties have been experienced in a few local health authority areas, and special remedial measures have been taken.
(Dublin South Central) asked the Minister for Health when it is proposed to implement a 40 hour week for nurses.
The question of a further reduction in the working hours of nurses is a matter for negotiation between the County and City Managers' Association, on behalf of the employing Health Authorities, and representatives of the nurses. Should my sanction be sought to any settlement, I shall be happy to consider the matter.