Nurses protest over disability cuts

Nurses are to protest against “severe and damaging cuts” to intellectual disability services outside the Dáil next Tuesday.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has claimed cuts made to services over the past five years have had an negative impact on the lives of those with an intellectual disability.

INMO general secretary Liam Doran said the protest was part their campaign to re-affirm the specialist role of the registered nurse in intellectual disability. Mr Doran said they wanted to evoke public debate on what was a human rights issue.

“It appears some providers with multiple layers of management are more interested in fiscal or financial targets than the provision of quality services. These same providers are also seeking to de-professionalise the provision of services and are attempting to dilute the vital role of the registered nurse in intellectual disability.”

The campaign follows in the wake of reports from the Health Information and Quality Authority over the last year criticising the HSE and intellectual disability providers for failing to meet standards. A number of care home inspection reports have found that staffing was insufficient; safeguarding practices were poor; governance arrangements were ineffective; and living facilities were not meeting the needs of residents.

At a press conference in Dublin yesterday, the INMO launched a policy document detailing the specialist role of the registered nurse in intellectual disability.

Nurses protest over disability cuts

Kathleen Lynch

As part of the campaign the INMO will meet with Kathleen Lynch, minister of state for mental health and disability. The union said it wants more active intervention from the Department of Health at policy level to support the greater role of the registered nurse in intellectual disability.

The organisation has already staged a protest outside St Mary’s residential disability facility in Drumcar, Co Louth, and further protests will form part of the campaign to restore quality and excellence to all intellectual disability services.

Meanwhile, Inclusion Ireland has begun a two-day disability rights protest outside Government Building to highlight the Government’s failure to deliver key disability reforms.

A cross-section of disability rights activists are taking part in the protest that began at 10am yesterday and will continue until 2pm tomorrow. Those taking part want the Government to take steps to restore funding in disability supports; introduce direct payments for people with disabilities; protect personal assistant supports, and ratify the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Inclusion Ireland chief executive Paddy Connolly said the Government had no credibility when it came to disability reforms promised in the Programme for Government.

“Introducing direct payments so that disability services become consumer-led and introducing assisted decision making legislation are key reforms which cannot wait until after the general election.”


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