‘Tens of thousands’ of nurses could be owed money

The number of staff nurses and midwives owed money from last year’s pay deal could be in the “tens of thousands”, according to nurses leaders.
‘Tens of thousands’ of nurses could be owed money
Minister for health Simon Harris at Government Buildings, Dublin (Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA Wire)
Minister for health Simon Harris at Government Buildings, Dublin (Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA Wire)

The number of staff nurses and midwives owed money from last year’s pay deal could be in the “tens of thousands”, according to nurses leaders.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said this is based on a survey of their own members across the country.

The number comes after the Irish Examiner revealed yesterday that thousands of the 30,000 nurses eligible for more pay have yet to be paid it.

And, as the paper reported, most of the 5,000 or so nurses eligible for a €2,230-a-year location allowance have also yet to receive it.

Fianna Fail have called on Health Minister Simon Harris to explain why the money hasn’t been paid and to make sure it is.

An INMO spokesperson said: “Tens of thousands of frontline nurses and midwives are being short changed and underpaid.

“Staff nurses and midwives secured higher salaries and extra allowances following their strike in February 2019, yet many workplaces have still not paid them the agreed monies.

“The INMO estimates that approximately a quarter of the major hospitals have paid in full, with the majority still delaying.”

At least 9,000 of the full time staff nurses and midwives owed money are employed across the HSE’s network of hospitals, some of whom are the biggest in the country.

Of these, 2,348 are nurses employed at Cork University Hospital, University Hospital Kerry, University Hospital Waterford and South Tipperary Hospital.

It is understood that Bantry and Mallow general hospitals have paid or started paying the money owed to nurses.

And it is also understood all the money owed to nurses at the Mercy Hospital has been paid.

A S/SWHG spokesperson said: “Nurses or midwives may apply for allowances and same are paid once eligibility is confirmed.

“Where staff have applied and have met the criteria, allowances are paid.”

They also said any nurse wanting enhanced pay “has to make an individual application and meet the established criteria”.

And they added: “Hospitals with a larger volume of staff require a longer period of time to process and validate all requests.

“This can take longer than desired but is necessary to ensure accurate and accountable systems are maintained.”

Other hospitals yet to pay all their full time nurses and midwives their new enhanced pay deal include University Hospital Limerick, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, University Hospital Galway and Mayo General Hospital.

A spokesperson for Saolta, which runs the Galway and Mayo hospitals, said: “We are working to progress these payments.”

At least 890 nurses working full time for the UL Hospital Group-run University Hospital Limerick and Nenagh Hospital are owed more than €1.6 million.

A HSE spokesperson said: “As of end March 2020, 3,405 Acute Hospital staff had taken up the enhanced nurse/midwife contract with an additional currently 5,334 in progress.

“It is anticipated the rate of implementation will increase significantly.”

More in this section