Nurses likely to begin getting extra payments from August under new deal

Government declines to say how much will be generated by new productivity proposals

The cost of the nurses’ deal, which has now escalated to close to €50m this year, was to have been offset by new savings and productivity measures. Photograph: Getty Images

The cost of the nurses’ deal, which has now escalated to close to €50m this year, was to have been offset by new savings and productivity measures. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Nurses are expected to begin receiving additional payments from August as part of a deal reached to resolve their strike earlier this year. The payments are outlined in implementation proposals put forward by the HSE on Friday.

However, the Government on Friday night declined to say how much would be generated from productivity and savings measures set out in its proposals.

The cost of the nurses’ deal, which has now escalated to close to €50 million this year, was to have been offset by new savings and productivity measures.

The deal will see additional nurses receive location allowances worth €2,230, while others will receive qualification allowances of €3,349 for the first time .

The deal will also see others move on to an enhanced grade with a higher pay scale. The allowance payments will be backdated to March.

The Department of Public Expenditure said on Friday: “Productivity measures and the associated savings are part of a live industrial relations process, the detail of which is still being finalised.”

Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe said following the original settlement that the deal would cost an additional €10 million to €15 million this year. He said it would cost an additional €30 million to €35 million next year when projected productivity measures and cost savings were taken into account.

However, Minister for Health Simon Harris said this week the most recent estimate of costs for the implementation of the various elements of the Labour Court recommendation for nurses was €39 million in 2019. He said an additional €5 million would be needed for the continued implementation of an agreed staffing framework .

The Minister also said increases in allowances and the extension of these payments to more categories of nurses and midwives to deal with recruitment and retention problems would cost an additional €13.7 million in 2019.

Agency staff

Government sources maintained this week that these new figures did not take into account projected saving on agency staff or productivity measures . However, Government sources declined to say how much would be saved under the new implementation proposals.

The Government had originally sought to generate savings by means of changing nurses’ rosters. It also wanted provision to move nurses from hospital to community settings and to relocate them up to 40km. However, these specific proposals were later removed in a subsequent Labour Court recommendation.

Draft contract proposals given to trade unions on Friday by the HSE said nurses moving to the new enhanced scale “may be required, in order to meet the requirements of the service and patient needs, to support:

* the delivery of services in the acute hospital and/or community sectors;

* the transfer of workload from the acute hospital sector to the community;

* the implementation of strategies and projects to shift care delivery to the community setting, including new approaches to chronic disease management.”

It continued: “This may require you to provide services at other places of work on a regular/intermittent basis as required by the employer.

“Any transfer to another place of work will be in accordance with this contract, employer policies and the national agreements in place from time to time.

“Your roster may be subject to assessment and change in the context of the Framework on Safe Staffing and may provide for a variety of shifts. This will include all healthcare settings in due course.”