Ceisteanna—Questions . Oral Answers . - Trainee Nurses .

32.

asked the Minister for Health if he has received any report or recommendations from the working party on general nursing on the feasibility of a national or regional scheme for processing applications for the position of trainee nurses.

33.

asked the Minister for Health when his Department's committee on pay, education, career structures and conditions in the nursing profession will make its interim report.

: With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 32 and 33 together.

I understand that the final report of the working party on general nursing will be available early next year and that it is unlikely that it will be presenting an interim report. The terms of reference of the working party are to examine and report on the role of nurses—other than psychiatric nurses —and on the education, training and grading structures appropriate for that role. The terms of reference do not relate to questions of remuneration.

The working party is at present carrying out a number of surveys, including a survey relating to the monitoring and evaluation of all nurse training applications over a period of 12 months, to assist it in making a recommendation in its report regarding the feasibility of a national or regional scheme for processing applications.

: Did I understand the Minister to say that is not anticipated that the working party would be producing an interim report? The Minister made the following statement to the House on 13 October:

The working party has set up a committee to examine the matter with a view to making recommendations to me in advance of its final report.

: That is the position. They hope to have a final report for me early next year and do not intend to submit an interim report.

: I appreciate that the sentence I quoted is a little difficult to comprehend. Is the Minister not aware that last October he was anticipating recommendations being made to him in advance of the final report?

: No, I do not recall that.

: I draw the Minister's attention to column 423 of the Official Report for 13 October 1977. Perhaps the Minister would like to set up a working party to look into what happened.

: There is a very good working party examining the matter which is doing a very comprehensive and thorough job and I am quite happy to await its final report early next year.

: I bet the Minister is.

: The Minister has his mind on other things.

: I did not set up this working party.

: The Minister did not get the interim report either.

: Has the Minister any plans for this year in regard to young girls applying to study nursing who, over a period, will have to attend three or five interviews by matrons and medical staff? There is a lot of overlapping.

: I agree that the present situation is ridiculous. I do not think I should do, or could be expected to do, anything about it pending this report. This is a very excellent body which is examining the situation. They have been working very assiduously for some considerable time. I am satisfied that they will produce a very good report and when we get it we will be able to take it up.

: Would the Minister say that he will take any steps this year to prevent hospitals from charging an entrance fee to trainee nurses?

: I have asked every hospital which I am aware charges fees to cease charging fees. I took that action about two months ago.

: Will the Minister forbid rather than exhort?

: A request from me in this context will probably be adhered to by the board.

: I hope the hospitals think as much of the Minister as he does of himself.

: These fees have been charged for a considerable time and this is the first time that any Minister for Health has taken positive action. I would expect a little commendation from the Deputy for a change.