Saturday, March 31, 2007

It's time to face down the nurses.

Nurses are routinely portrayed as angels by the media. No politician or media commentator has dared to seriously question their “caring” status or their entitlement to greater rewards.
But is it becoming clearer by the day that they are just as intent on screwing as much as possible for themselves out of the public purse as any other group in the country.

The current row with the Cork midwives is a case in point - despite denials from Liam Doran and the INO, it’s clear that a sweetener of between €3k - €5k was expected by the personnel involved. The nurses wider claim for a 10% increase and a reduction in working hours from 38 to 35 hours per week is justified solely on the basis of relativity with hospital administrators.
Both elements have huge implications for the cost of the Health Service e.g. would the lost hours be made up through overtime or extra staff?

It’s easy to see the interminable cost spiral which such relativity claims are likely to create, if acceded to.

One can at least understand some of the motivation behind the nurses claim: it’s human nature - they’re working daily cheek by jowl with overpaid doctors and consultants, who are all either current or future millionaires. It’s natural that they should also want to get more of the gravy.

The A&E situation is the best propaganda weapon available to the nurses and one that Liam Doran and the INO ruthlessly exploits to their advantage. What percentage of the total nursing population actually works in A&E Departments? Would it be more than 2-3%? But the rest of them can piggyback their pay and working hours claims on the highly publicised stress and working conditions of that minority.

Yet we constantly hear stories of filthy wards and toilets, absence of personal hygiene by nurses moving from patient to patient etc etc.. Many tasks which were traditionally carried out by nurses are now considered to be beneath them - “someone else’s job” - and the consequences for patient care include the spread of MRSA and other hospital infections.

The paradox is that the more we pay these medical staff, the less of them we can afford to employ. We cannot continue to simply pour more money into a dysfunctional health system when all we seem to achieve is enhanced salaries rather than enhanced services.

No comments:

Blog Archive