Striking off of 768 nurses ordered over retention fee


THE HIGH Court has ordered the striking off of 768 nurses from the nursing register over failing to pay their retention fee to An Bord Altranais for more than two years.

The application for the striking off orders was made by Nicholas Butler SC, on behalf of the board, to the president of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns.

Nurses are required by law to be registered in order to work and must pay an annual retention fee of €88 to the board, which is the supervisory authority for the profession. When the judge suggested the number involved had “worrying implications”, Mr Butler said it represented less than 1.6 per cent of registered nurses.

The judge said every nurse was valuable and he would not like it to go out that nearly 800 nurses had disappeared overnight.

Mr Butler said the people involved had ceased their registration for a number of reasons.

Counsel was also awarded the costs of the board’s application and said a contribution towards those costs may be sought in the event those affected by the strike-off orders sought re-registration.

Asked to comment, the general secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) Liam Doran said the large numbers involved in the case could be explained by migration, job losses and recent retirements from the HSE. He said the HSE had also tightened up procedures in relation to registration of nurses with An Bord Altranais.

Mr Doran said nurses now had to confirm in writing to their employer that they were registered with the board and to give their pin number.

He said some 1,800 nurses had left the country over recent times. Hundreds had also retired from the HSE before pension changes came into effect at the end of last February.

Mr Doran also said there were indications that a significant number of nurses who had come to Ireland from abroad had left to take up positions in other countries. Some of these may have let their registration lapse with the board.

Separately, under a scheme launched yesterday up to 9,000 nurses who are covered by the INMO’s income protection scheme are to be offered free breast health assessments. Male nurses will be offered assessment for prostate or testicular cancer.