Nurses take to the streets over rise in registration fees
NURSES protested outside the headquarters of the Nurses and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) over a 70pc increase of their professional registration fees.
The NMBI has increased the annual fee from €100 to €150 this year, despite nurses and midwives taking 15pc pay cuts in recent years.
Two years ago it cost nurses €85 to register with the NMBI, a regulatory body which is responsible for carrying out inquiries into allegations of misconduct against its members.
Irish Nurses and Midwives Unite Organiser Karen Canning said that they cannot take the increase in costs.
"Our fees have gone up by 70pc in two years and 95pc since the end of the Celtic Tiger and we just don't have it to give anymore. We have taken pay cuts, have homes in negative equity," Ms Canning said.
Responding to the protest, an NMBI spokesperson said the organisation regretted the increase in the fee but said it had been "kept as low as possible for as long as possible".
It said the hikes were due to the "cost of enacting additional requirements under the Nurses and Midwives Act 2011".
These requirements include enhanced regulations with supporting systems for continued professional development and certain education and training requirements.
Niall O'Sullivan (40), a nurse from Prosperous, Co Kildare, said that the NMBI's costs could be lowered if there was enough staff working on wards.
"The nurses don't support them because we only see them as a body that is going to punish us when we make a mistake.The reason mistakes happen is because the wards are short-staffed. If they were fully-staffed there would not be so many mistakes because there wouldn't be so many tired nurses on duty," said Niall.
The Department of Health gave the board €1.6m to cover their 2013 and 2014 costs but told that NMBI that they would have to cover its own costs from next year.