Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Questions (304)

Micheál Martin


304. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health the status of the nurses dispute; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16152/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Since the Labour Court issued its original recommendation on 11th February, intensive engagement between Health Service Management and Unions took place to agree the new contract for the new Enhanced Nurse/Midwife role.  While progress was made, there remained sections of the new contract where agreement was not possible.  The INMO referred those disputed sections of the proposed new contract to the Labour Court on 11th March.   The Court held further hearings with INMO, SIPTU and Health Service Management.  On the 3rd of April, the Court issued a further recommendation on the new contract, covering the outstanding issues of: location of work; work duties; hours of work; and the qualifying criteria.

The Government welcomes and accepts this recommendation.

I welcome the fact that the INMO has recommended that their members accept this Labour Court ruling. They commenced a ballot of their members on the 8th April and it is ongoing.  I also am aware that SIPTU are discussing this ruling with their Executive.   

From the Government’s perspective, this latest Labour Court ruling has given clarity around a range of contentious issues and offers both sides a way forward.  It should result in a new contract for a new Enhanced Practice Nurse who will be working in different, more flexible ways which should assist in realising transformative change in the nursing profession.