Friday, January 11, 2013

Unions should not mislead over graduate nurse positions

Starting salaries for nurses in UK are very similar

Fine Gael Meath East Deputy, Regina Doherty, has today (Friday) said that union bosses should not mislead the public over the 1,000 positions being made available for graduate nurses. Deputy Doherty was speaking following comments made by the Chief Executive of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, Liam Doran.

“It is not helpful for union bosses to make misleading statements about the nature of this scheme, which will give 1,000 graduate nurses an opportunity to start a full time job. The HSE is not sacking nurses to take them on; it currently employs about 35,000 nurses, and after these new graduates are recruited it will employ 36,000 nurses.

“There has been a lot of commentary about the pay grades of the new nurses, which will work out at about €25,000 a year. If we take a look at our closest neighbours, it is clear this pay scale is not out of kilter. In the NHS, starting salaries for nurses range from roughly £18,600 to £21,100; or about €22,400 to €25,500.

“So in other words, the starting salaries for these graduate positions are very similar to pay scales on offer in the UK. The main difference is the UK is not relying on money from the EU/IMF to run the country.

“Of course I would prefer if we were in a position to take on nurses on higher salaries. But that will only be possible in the future if we get our finances under control, and the reality is huge savings still need to be made in our public service. In the health service alone, we need to save more than €700 million this year.

“Through this scheme, graduate nurses who would otherwise have gone abroad will now be in a position to apply for full time work here at home. At a time when our public services must work under severely reduced budgets, the recruitment of 1,000 extra staff is quite significant. I would urge any graduates thinking about applying for these new jobs not to be put off by comments from Liam Doran and his counterparts.”

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