Nurses to finalise plans for industrial action

 

Public health nurses are to meet tomorrow to finalise a campaign for industrial action over their status within the health service.

In a ballot, 93 per cent of the 1,550 public health nurses who are members of the Irish Nurses' Organisation (INO) voted in favour of industrial action.

It is expected that any action would take the form of a work-to-rule.

The nurses, who make home visits in the community, are campaigning to retain their clinical nurse specialist status originally recommended by the Commission on Nursing.

The INO general secretary, Mr Liam Doran, said yesterday the commission had found that public health nurses worked at the level of clinical nurse specialist.

"Now this has been ignored by the Public Service Benchmarking Body, which has recommended that the public health nurses should have their relative position eroded by 3 per cent," he said.

There were now two conflicting reports, but the commission report was accepted in all its aspects by the Government when it was published, he said.

"The benchmarking body's contradictory finding creates an anomaly whereby the public health nurse, who requires three distinct nursing qualifications, attained only after a minimum of six years of study, will be paid less than other community-based nursing specialists holding one registered qualification," Mr Doran said, adding that management must know that the situation with the public nurses was so anomalous as to be unsustainable.