NEWSFLASH NO. 22
22 January 2015
CAMPAIGN OF OPPOSITION TO NMBI FEE INCREASE
NMBI seeks meeting with Minister before meeting Unions
I refer again to the on-going campaign of opposition to the increase in retention fee by NMBI. In that regard we wish to advise you as follows.
• We understand that the NMBI has sought an immediate meeting with the Minister for Health, before meeting with the unions, arising from the Minister's request for the Board to reengage with nursing unions;
• This is in response to the Minister's letter, of the 14 th January, in which he requested the Board to reengage with the staff associations in a manner which;
“avoids a scenario where nurses and midwives are removed from the Register for non-payment of fees with potential consequences for service availability and continuity of care.”
• Our three unions look forward to this reengagement, as requested by the Minister, which must ensure total transparency, from the Board, and an outcome which will make the Board much more relevant to nurses and midwives as they strive to maintain quality care with inadequate resources and staffing.
• We are glad to note that members, in workplaces up and down the country, are now wearing the campaign badge visibly confirming their support for the campaign. The badges are available from key representatives, in your workplace, so please spread them far and wide confirming the extent of solidarity for our current actions.
• This issue was raised in the Dáil, again today, at leader's question time. This is in the context of growing concerns, that the Board has failed to understand the consequences, for health services, arising from its flawed decision to seek an increase of 50%, in its retention fee, which is strongly opposed by tens of thousands of nurses and midwives.
• Our three unions are currently finalising further initiatives, within the campaign, which will coincide, in the absence of progress through renewed discussions, with the issuing of a 2 nd reminder, by NMBI, on or around 02 nd February.
• These initiatives will again be shaped to demonstrate, to the Board, that its current approach, with regard to the fee increase, is untenable and must be reversed.
• Members are asked to note that, despite seeking a 50% increase in its revenue, the Board continues to refuse to indicate where it is currently spending the €6 million plus it received, from retention fees, in 2014.
• It is still refusing to disclose what it pays for public relations and legal services and how this is impacting upon its ability to support nurses and midwives in a clinical environment; and
• The Board continues to state that it needs the 50% increase in revenue, which would bring its income to over €9 million, per annum, primarily to pay its legal fees without indicating what level (i.e. daily rate) it is currently paying.
• It should also be noted that, notwithstanding the record levels of hospital overcrowding which have occurred in recent days, the NMBI has been completely silent with regard to the impact of this overcrowding on nursing practice and the ability to maintain safe practice.
• The contradiction of seeking a 50% increase in fees, primarily to meet legal costs arising from public Fitness to Practice hearings, while making no comment with regard to impossible demands upon frontline nurses to practice safely, is either completely lost on, or ignored by, the NMBI.
Ahead of any renewed discussions the campaign remains strong, up and down the country, as growing numbers of members realise no regulatory authority can seek to impose such draconian increases in the current climate.
Please continue to follow our campaign advice and continue to spread the call, for support and solidarity, with all of your colleagues.
Stay united. Stay Strong.