How will Government tackle issues in our hospitals without addressing pay?

28 August 2018

Labour Party Health spokesperson, Alan Kelly TD, has questioned how the Government plans to increase capacity in our hospitals to tackle overcrowding without addressing the issue of pay in the health sector.

Deputy Kelly said:

“If this summer has taught us anything, it is that hospital overcrowding is no longer just a winter phenomenon. If the problem is this bad now, I dread to think of the state of the trolley crisis come December.

“One of the main ways to deal with the crisis in our hospitals is by ensuring that nursing staffing levels are adequate enough to deal with the problem. The work done by healthcare workers everyday is fantastic, but the burden needs to be shared among a greater volume of staff.

“Every time I hear representatives of nurses and other healthcare workers on the national airwaves, I become more alarmed by their concerns. The more people on trolleys, the more chaotic and unsafe working conditions become for staff.

“We know that pay is a major barrier to attracting nurses into the profession. Figures released today by the CSO show that more Irish emigrants are returning home rather than leaving for the first time since 2009, I doubt very many of those returning home are nurses.

“When we consider the conditions that many nurses work in, it’s no surprise that many graduate nurses are heading abroad to find a better deal. These graduate nurses have seen it all throughout their training in Irish hospitals, the often grave conditions in accident and emergency, psychiatric and maternity wards coupled with the fact that there are better conditions in other countries, are enough to drive them away.

“Ending the two-tier pay system in our hospitals would go a long way to enticing more graduate nurses into our hospitals and would also play a part in encouraging more nurses home.

“The Labour Party has been very clear, the emergency is over, it is time to end the two-tier pay system across the public service.

“If we are to end the staffing crisis in our health service, the Government needs to be more proactive when it comes to attracting quality staff to our healthcare system and deal with the issues around pay and conditions.”

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