Pay hike for nurses won’t improve our health service
ANYONE who has suffered through our ravaged health service, knows that no money in the world could repay the tireless dedication of our good nurses. But for all that, our universal goodwill cannot stretch to supporting the propaganda that has been churned out in recent days, usually by nurses themselves, pressing for a 12pc salary increase ahead of their threatened strike on January 30. Their suggestion that chronic problems in the health service will be resolved if nurses get a raise is disingenuous at best. The reverse is the more likely outcome. Their argument about recruitment shortages in nursing being linked to pay issues ignores the wealth of OECD data showing that nurses’ pay is comparatively high here, on a par with Australia and higher than New Zealand, Canada and the UK. Is it not impossible that the Dickensian conditions of our hospitals and other problems in the health service are the real turn-off for Irish nurses, rather than money? While a salary hike may improve recruitment and reduce our reliance on expensive agency staff, its effect will also be to divert resources from services by further ballooning the HSE’s salary bill. Irish taxpayers invest more in their health service than most Europeans but in terms of hospital accommodation we fare among the worst. Unless a compromise is reached between nurses and Government, the net effect of having among the best paid nurses in the world will not be, as the nurses’ union claims, an easing of overcrowding and bed shortages, but even more wretched conditions.
A CAREER guidance review by the Higher Education Authority shows that mothers have far greater influence than fathers on students’ career options, despite their workplace knowledge often being out of date. Ah the Irish mammy; traditional jobs may be replaced by computers but her powerful role will never reach its sell-by date.