Nurses’ dispute: statement by Brian Cowen, Minister for Finance
The Minister for Finance, Brian Cowen, welcomes the comprehensive proposals put forward by the National Implementation Body to address the issues in the dispute between the INO/PNA and the HSE.
He said: “They provide the scope for the resolution of the present dispute and a roadmap for dealing with the wide range of issues involved”.
“The proposals by the National Implementation Body are set within the framework of the Social Partnership Agreements. Therefore they respect the integrity of the agreed public service pay arrangements. For the Government that has always been a critical element to any solution.”
“At the same time the proposals provide a framework within which the issues raised by the nursing unions can be addressed. There is a process to lead to a reduction of an hour and a half in the nurses’ working week by next year. There is an arrangement for a Commission, which will include international expertise in healthcare and nurse management, to look at further reductions in hours. There is recognition that, while progress can be made on these issues, the changes must be cost neutral.”
“Under the formula proposed, the pay issues can now be addressed through benchmarking.”
“These proposals if accepted will clear the way for a resumption of full, uninterrupted health services to patients. It is the shared position of the Government, the Health Service Executive and the nursing unions that the changes that can be effected under these proposals, and through the wider processes to transform the health service, must have as a central goal the enhancement of the quality of service to patients.”
“This has been a very complex and difficult dispute. Tremendous efforts to develop a solution have been made over the past weeks by the Government, by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and employer members of the National Implementation Body, and by the leaders of the nursing unions.”
The Minister considers that the National Implementation Body proposals set out a way forward that is fair to nurses, fair to all other parties to the Social Partnership agreements, and fair to taxpayers – and that will benefit the delivery of health services to patients.
16 May 2007.
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