New contract for nurses will 'enhance' prospects, says Reilly
The employment of graduate nurses on reduced pay has been defended by Minister for Health Dr James Reilly. “This scheme is a major concession on the basis that the numbers employed will be outside the employment control framework which has been set.”
Dr Reilly said the scheme would also allow the creation of a nursing bank with people who had the skills required in the health service.
“I believe this will truly enhance the employment possibility of the graduates who will go through this two-year programme. They will come out the other end with skill sets that are not as freely available amongst their colleagues.’’
The Minister was replying to Sinn Féin health spokesman Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, who said graduates were being offered two-year contracts on 80 per cent of a serving nurse’s salary. The nurses had voted with their feet on the issue and the Minister should withdraw the scheme.
He said Dr Reilly should sit down with unions and discuss genuine savings while protecting the already reduced pay and entitlements of nurses.
Mr Ó Caoláin said the Minister’s description of the scheme as a major concession did not fit with what the troika had said in response to his questions during a meeting. The scheme would involve the displacement of up to 1,000 nurses or midwives currently employed through agencies. There would be no extra nursing hours.