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The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) said today (Monday) that the sanction from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to commence implementation of the agreement, reached with the Department of Health as part of the Lansdowne Road Agreement, in December 2015 will hopefully result in the retention and recruitment of graduate nurses into the Irish health system.

 PNA Research and Development Advisor, Aisling Culhane said :

‘The cuts in student nurses pay were a travesty and have added significantly to the difficulties in retaining world class Irish graduate nurses throughout the health system where they are so badly needed and staffing is in crisis.'

We welcome that student nurse pay is realigned to a percentage of the qualified nurses/midwives rate and the hourly rate increased from below the national minimum wage to €9.48 or 70% of the first point of the staff nurses' scale.

The reintroduction of incremental credit for the 36 week work placement, which is a period of time in the final year of training which is superannuated and during which the student replaces qualified staff at a ratio of 2:1 is very welcome. This means that student nurses will be moved on to the second point of the staff nurses' scale, following completion of an additional 16 weeks work and this should act as an incentive for them to remain in Ireland post qualification.

However, PNA together with other nursing unions expressed disappointment that the same incremental credit could not be applied to those who have qualified since 2011, and from whom it was removed, but acknowledge that the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has agreed to set up a review of the effects of the reduction of this incremental credit on the ability of the Health Services to retain and recruit qualifying nurses and midwives.

PNA is committed to fully engaging with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Department of Health in order to secure incremental credit for these categories of nurses, to ensure they receive the same benefit as those qualifying in 2016.

Media Contact : Derek Cunningham 0862430535


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