Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher has said Irish nurses are being attracted to the NHS not simply on the basis of money but also because of the government’s attitude to the profession.
Deputy Kelleher said: “The government has announced a campaign to get emigrant nurses back home but two years ago Fine Gael and Labour effectively gave up on keeping Irish nurses here when they announced a scheme to make newly qualified nurses take up two year contracts for 80% of the lowest rate of nurses pay.
“Fianna Fáil said that the time that it was neither fair nor sustainable and that stance has been justified.
“Furthermore we also warned that the reality of the government’s policy is that qualified nurses were going to end up looking for work abroad as they didn’t feel it was fair to expect them to work alongside others in the profession, doing the exact same work, for less money.
“Many of these no doubt went to the NHS and now the Minister for Health is trying to lure them back. However the reality is that their treatment by the government will make that much harder and indeed their experience and salaries on the NHS may incentivise others to leave.
“The fact is that we need to improve conditions for nurses in our hospitals. I welcome the ditching of the 2013 scheme but the reality is it has done a lot of damage in the meantime.”