Nurses, midwives and strike action

 

Sir, – In response to Pat Leahy’s article “Why the Government cannot give in on the nurses’ strike” (Opinion & Analysis, February 9th), the issue regarding our pay is about our core pay. Premiums and extras are just that – premiums. I have to essentially plan my life around doing weekends or nights just so I can have some kind of a decent salary. These premium payments are given to shift workers as working during the night has been shown to be detrimental to one’s health. I also regularly have to miss out on family events and meeting friends due to working such shifts.

Furthermore nurses and midwives are working a 39-hour week, and not the 37 hours worked by our allied health professional colleagues.

I would also like to make the point that a registered nurse has equal levels of autonomy, if not more, than some of the therapy grade staff.

In my own role as an intensive-care nurse, I am the health professional who decides whether or not a patient can be treated by a physiotherapist, it is my professional judgment in regards to how well a patient is likely to tolerate such treatments. I also wean patients from ventilators (independently) and run complex dialysis machines.

Nurses are not asking for a pay increase as such, we’re asking for pay parity with equally qualified professionals. – Yours, etc,

AUSTIN CULLEN,

BSc (Hons), PG Dip.

Specialist Nursing (ICU),

Registered Nurse,

Dublin 8.

Sir, – The dysfunctionality and inefficiency of the HSE are accepted as a given, and I am sure the nurses are acutely aware of this.

Why cannot the nurses table proposals for smarter working practices and the elimination of archaic administrative bureaucracy which would finance the money sought?

Failing that I suggest the strike weapon is highly questionable where such large numbers of patients are denied their entitlement to treatment.

Compulsory binding arbitration is a more equitable remedy to solve industrial strife. – Yours, etc,

JOHN DONOGHUE,

Clane,

Co Kildare.