As he left the conference hall following his address, some delegates chanted: “no more cuts.”
One delegate, Bolatito Aderemi from the Dublin South West branch, started to sing: “All we are saying is enough is enough.
As he passed her Dr Reilly said she should “stick to her day job”.
A number of delegates objected to the Minister’s comments and said the union should seek an apology.
Dr Reilly later met with Ms Aderami privately and apologised.
He said he had made a quip as he left the hall. He said he had been informed that someone had taken offence. He said he had not intended to offend anyone.
Ms Aderemi, who is originally from Nigeria, said the Minister had shaken her hand, tried to give her a hug and said he was sorry and did not mean to embarrass her. She said she accepted his apology.
Dr Reilly had been greeted in silence as he arrived at the conference. However he received applause following an anouncement that nurses would hold senior leadership positions inthe proposed new hospital groups and in the Department of Health.
He said each of the proposed new hospital groups, to be announced formally next week, will have to have a director of nursing as a full executive on the management team.
“I will (also) establish a new chief nursing officer role within the Department of Health, that this role will be at assistant secretary level and a full member of the management advisory committee and will have executive authority to lead the nursing profession in Ireland and represent its perspective both to Government and internationally.”
Dr Reilly told delegates that pay savings of €150 million had to achieved in the HSE this yearin addition to the many reforms and efficiencies designed to improve servies and to live within its budget.
“Frankly, we are between a rock and a hard place.”
The Minister said that management and unions were meeting at the Labour Relations Comission to explore all the avenues open to try to reach a resolution to reducing the paybill.
“If we can find such anagreement it would be so much better than an imposed solution.
However he said the country was borrowing €1 billion per month and that this could not continue.
I WOULDN’T SAY there’s been a single week since I’ve started working about a year and a half ago in the hospital that I’ve only had to work 48 hours a week – as the 2004 EU Working Time Directive instructs.
It can be anything up to over 100 hours a week. There was a couple of hours where I was working over Christmas where I was on call three times a week and you’d have to work the next day post-call as well.
Generally you wouldn’t get any sleep, or you might get one or two hours. You could end up working anything up to 36 hours in a row.
Thirty-six hours would be a record. But once a week you’d generally have to work 32 hours in a row.
It’s a killer. Adrenaline tends to get you through the first 20 hours. You start to feel the burn at around 4am. You focus then on the ward for a few hours, you make your way through it, you’re generally okay that night, but then the next day is really exhausting.
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It has published comparative figures on staffing levels in Ireland compared to their UK counterparts, and say they have also drawn together international evidence that confirms a reduction in nurse staffing levels “negatively affects patient care in terms of higher mortality rates, increased adverse events such as patient falls, medication and transfusion errors, and delays in treatment.”
It also found that inadequate staffing is associated with longer lengths of stay and increased rates of readmission, both of which lead to increased healthcare costs. It says that this research “showed that poor staffing levels increase the risk of burnout amongst nurses which in turn increases the risk of poorer patient care”.
The figures show that in elderly care wards in Ireland, there were 121.87 less total care hours available on the ward per week, compared to the UK. On medical wards, there was 131.25 less hours per week in comparison, while in surgical wards there was a deficit of 225 total care hours compared to the UK.
Admissions and assessment units had two less staff on at every part of the day compared to their equivalent in the UK.
Speaking today, INMO General Secretary, Liam Doran said that all of this evidence, coupled with the inquiry into deaths at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust which found that the period investigated was characterised by cuts in staff and changes in skills ratios, “cannot be left unchallenged”.
Our members, without exception, are under unbearable pressure striving to provide safe practice and safe care to their patients/clients.
It is now time for the Minister for Health and the Government to take stock, look at the evidence which confirms our staffing levels are unacceptably low and to acknowledge that where there are poor staffing levels, patients suffer. They must, once and for all, lift the recruitment ban on frontline staff and put the ‘health’ back into the health service.
Doran said that the INMO will now be seeking an early meeting with the Oireachtas Committee on Health to present to them the results of this comparative study, together with the international research findings of the value of a registered nurse.
It will call upon them to initiate a process leading to safe nurse patient ratios in all areas of the Irish health care system.