Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher has called on the Minister for Health to ensure that no nurse will be de-registered as a result of the dispute with the Nurses and Midwifery Board (NMBI) over the increase in its annual retention fee.
The NMBI has increased its fee from €100 to €150, however the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation is advising its members to continue to pay €100, after January 5th, to register for 2015.
Deputy Kelleher commented: “I am disappointed at the lack of engagement we’ve seen from Minister Leo Varadkar in this dispute. All practising nurses and midwives are obliged by law to be registered by NMBI but a 50% increase in its retention fee is excessive.
“I understand the board has said the increase is required to cover costs as a result of legislative and procedural changes. I am urging Minister Varadkar to detail what discussions he had with the NMBI on these issues in advance of the increase and whether he was informed that legislative changes would increase costs on the regulator. I would like to know if the NMBI sought extra financial resources from the Government to meet these extra costs before turning to its members and increasing their annual fees.
“The NMBI regulates professional and safety standards in nursing and midwifery and its relationship with staff on the frontline is extremely important. I believe this dispute has the potential to significantly sour that relationship if it is allowed to drag on. I would urge Minister Varadkar to meet all of the parties concerned with a view to bringing this to a satisfactory conclusion. In the meantime he should ensure that no nurse is effectively de-registered until this matter is resolved. The last thing the health service needs is to start the year with a prolonged and bitter dispute with nurses that would threaten their ability to practice their profession.”