Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (587)

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

701 Ms O. Mitchell asked the Minister for Health and Children if he will prevent the large-scale recruitment of nurses from India which. It is a developing country and its need for nurses is greater than ours. [1492/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Health and Children)

My Department's policy on the recruitment of overseas nurses is set out in Guidance for Best Practice on the Recruitment of Overseas Nurses and Midwives published in 2001. It covers all aspects of the recruitment process including planning, staff selection, visas and work permits, provision of advice before leaving home, the procedures for gaining registration in Ireland and induction, orientation and adaptation on arrival. It was developed by a committee of experts from Departments and the health service employers and represents current best practice. The guiding principles underlying the policies are quality, ethical recruitment, equity, inclusiveness and promotion of nursing as a career.

Supports provided to overseas nurses arriving to work in the health service include supervised clinical practice, orientation and assessment. A full-time clinical placement co-ordinator is employed to facilitate this. Nurses are paid at the minimum point of the staff nurse scale during this period and are given full incremental credit for relevant nursing experience following registration. Overseas nurses enjoy the same employment protection as Irish and EU nurses and have the same career development supports and opportunities.

Employers are required to assist overseas nurses in obtaining registration with An Bord Altranais and work permits, visas and work authorisations can also be provided. Employers should provide subsidised accommodation for six weeks following arrival and assist nurses in securing long-term private accommodation.

In 2000 the chairperson of the Dublin academic teaching hospitals recruitment and retention group met officials from the Ministry for Health in India. It positively supports recruitment of nurses from India by the Irish health service.

Overseas nurses are making an invaluable contribution to the health service and we are pleased to have them. Overseas nurses gain good professional experience while in Ireland and it will enhance their contribution to nursing when they return home.