On behalf of our three unions we refer, again, to our continuing campaign of opposition to the proposed increase in retention fee, by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI), to €150.
In view of developments we now wish to bring the following matters to your attention:
1. We have now learned that the NMBI conference, scheduled for next Thursday, 9 th October 2014, has been postponed.
• we believe this is as a direct result of our campaign including our request for members not to attend this NMBI event and our publicly stated intention to hold a public protest outside of same; and
• this is tangible evidence that our campaign is working, enjoys the support of the nursing and midwifery professions and must continue until we have this inexplicable decision, by NMBI, reversed.
2. In view of this cancellation, and after consideration of the matter, the three unions are standing down the planned public protest scheduled for next Thursday, 9 th October 2014.
3. Instead the three unions will be holding a public protest, to coincide with the next ordinary meeting of the NMBI board, which is scheduled for Tuesday, 18 th November 2014.
In that regard all members are now asked to make arrangements to attend, if at all possible, this public protest which will take place as follows:
Date: Tuesday, 18 th November 2014 - Time: 12.00 noon
Venue: Outside NMBI Headquarters, 18/20 Carysfort Avenue, Blackrock, Co. Dublin
As before members of all unions are asked to contact their representatives, at local level, so that transport arrangements can be co-ordinated to assist with members' attendance at this public protest.
This protest will allow the professions, in a very public way, demonstrate their anger and frustration, directly to the board, who, regrettably, by majority vote, made this flawed decision in the first place.
4. In the interim we again re-affirm our advice, to all members, with regard to the following:
• to cancel all direct debits payable to NMBI immediately; and
• send in the letters of protest (click here) and/or participate in the online petitions available via union websites.
5. Finally, we bring to your attention recent correspondence, between NMBI and ourselves, for your information (click here).
As can be seen the correspondence, from NMBI, only serves to confirm its total disconnect from the day to day challenges faced by every registered nurse/ midwife. It is also regrettable that the board's correspondence, although long in theory, does not address, or deal with, any of the major issues/questions we laid before them.
As you can see we have, while highlighting the board's detachment from the professions, also proposed a definite timeframe for the commencement of three party discussions (Department of Health/NMBI/Nursing Unions) in order to make progress on this matter. We will keep you fully advised of any, and all, developments.
We are aware that there are a number of Facebook based, and other, initiatives ongoing regarding this matter. They are all welcome. However it is only through the collective actions, and strength, of our three recognised unions will this campaign succeed. The undoubted energy of these other initiatives must be channelled into this collective/united campaign to ensure success.
The cancellation of the NMBI's national conference, scheduled for next Thursday, 9 th October 2014, is, undoubtedly, because of the pressure of our collective campaign of opposition. We must now continue this campaign, through the steps outlined above, thus demonstrating that registered nurses and midwives find this 50% increase in fee inexplicable and totally unacceptable.
Please continue to pay attention to unions' websites, your emails and noticeboards for regular updates on this campaign.
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Reply to this letter:
06 October 2014
Dr Maura Pidgeon
Chief Executive Officer
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland
18/20 Carysfort Avenue
Re: Proposed Increase in Annual Retention Fee - 2015
We acknowledge receipt of your letter, dated 02 October 2014, in response to our previous letter, on this critically important issue, dated 23 September 2014.
It is with regret that we must state, at the outset, your letter fails to address the key issues which we raised in our previous correspondence. In fact your letter only serves to confirm the distance that exists between the Board, and its understanding of its role, and the position of registered nurses and midwives and what they expect from their regulatory body in these very challenging times.
Specifically we are obliged to make the following further points;
• We do not accept that at any time, or in any way, the current board, or indeed its predecessor An Board Altranais, has offered practical, real, substantial and relevant support to nurses and midwives in the clinical area.
You seem to hold the view that with a focus on theory the board fulfils its remit to the two professions. We would contend that it is only when you demonstrate, in a very public manner visible to all stakeholders, how you translate that theory, of best practice, into the prevailing clinical environment will you be providing support to the registered nurses/midwives.
• In relation to the issue of continued departmental funding, of work previously done by the National Council, we were not asking for the Department's position. Therefore we are still seeking to learn what the view of your board is in relation to the additional costs being incurred, following the abolition of the Council, and whether you agree such costs should continue to be borne by the Department.
• In relation to competency assurance your comments do not address the points raised in our letter in terms of who will bear development as well as continuing costs. We repeat that our collective stance is that this issue must be clarified in the context of agreeing a medium term funding model, for the Board, which involves all relevant stakeholders playing a part.
• In relation to Fitness to Practice you have again failed, in your recent letter, to address our concerns. In particular the reasons for the very significant increase in costs, being incurred by the board, are not referred to at all. You will recall we asked for clarity on this issue and we still await same.
In terms of the next step, on this issue, we repeat our view that we believe discussions, involving the Department, NMBI and ourselves, are required immediately. Furthermore we believe that process should commence with a joint request, from NMBI and ourselves, for the Department to join us in roundtable discussions without delay. Indeed we would hold the view that those discussions should commence no later than the week beginning Monday 13 th October. Please confirm you are agreeable to this immediate next step so that we can move to finalise this engagement.
In the interim we wish to reiterate that our three organisations remain totally opposed to the proposed increase, in the retention fee, and our campaign of opposition, to same, will continue.
Finally we reject your assertion that we do not “support the boards mandate to set the standards for professions of nursing and midwifery and the protection of the public”. As previously stated, we remain fully committed to supporting a regulatory body that protects the public interest by ensuring nurses and midwives, both individually and collectively, are allowed to practice in a clinical environment which ensures safe care through safe practice.
We await hearing from you with regard to the questions your recent letter did not address and our proposal regarding the critical next step.