SIPTU Nurses and Midwives, are holding a public protest, at 12.00 noon tomorrow Tuesday, 18th November 2014, outside the head offices of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland in Carysfort Avenue, Blackrock, Co. Dublin.
This protest is the latest step in the nationwide campaign of opposition, being mounted by the three unions, against the decision, of NMBI, to seek an increase in the retention fee, for 2015, of 50% to €150. This increase would mean that this regulatory body will have sought almost 80% of an increase, in two years, from all registered nurses and midwives.
The protest will see hundreds of nurses and midwives, from all over the country, travel to the head offices, of NMBI, to confirm their outright opposition to this totally inexplicable, unjustified and indefensible increase in fees being sought by the regulatory body.
The registration fee, for all other health professionals, is remaining at €100, until at least January 2017. However the NMBI, due to its failure to control legal and other costs, is saying it must seek this increase despite the fact that:
- nurses and midwives have suffered, at a minimum, a reduction in salary of over 14% in the last four years; and
- inflation is running at less than 1%.
The reaction to this attempt to increase this retention fee has confirmed, to our three unions, that the NMBI, currently, does not enjoy the support and confidence of the professions it is established to regulate. In fact the view of the vast majority of nurses and midwives is that the Board charges them a registration fee, annually, only to fund the legal costs, in fitness to practice hearings, when difficulties in the clinical environment are being investigated.
The NMBI has not, despite the past five years of cutbacks, loss of nursing posts and underfunding of the health system, made any public comment about the impact, of such cuts, upon the ability of nurses and midwives to practice safely in the interests of patients.
In mounting this campaign of opposition SIPTU have consistently reaffirmed the following:
- Their support for a retention fee, of €100, which is the same retention fee levied upon all other allied health professionals.
- The need for a regulatory body that protects the public by ensuring that nurses and midwives can practice in an environment conducive to the highest quality care through safe practice.
- That all expenditure, by the statutory regulatory body, is subject to openness and full transparency with tighter controls of public relations and legal costs.
- Their collective commitment to agreeing a long term funding model, for NMBI, which ensures the costs of regulation is properly shared between the professions, service providers and the Board in the interests of the general public.