To: Simon Harris
Corona crisis: Please protect our nurses Simon Harris
Raise the entry-level salaries of nurses to €4000
Freeze any exams
Remove cap on overtime
Provide adequate protective gear and nationalise any supplier
Why is this important?
It's been a tragedy. Last week, those who called for a postponement of operations that could be planned and for the freeing up of hospital capacities were branded as fear-mongers. "Ireland is different!" Or "don't panic!" Were messages that we received.
In the meantime, you seem to have understood, Mr Harris, that Ireland can quickly become Italy and it will have been foreseeable.
Intensive care units, protective clothing and nursing staff were lacking in Italy, it’s the same for us. It doesn't make a difference, however, because even with existing beds and technology, who will care for patients in the intensive care units, who will operate the ventilators? Who will checks on them when they are in pain?
Delayed action is of course very dangerous in a pandemic and costs lives!
We hope that you have finally understood that nursing staff are the silver line between disaster and survival for our nation. We understand that you have started instructing hospital managers to involve pensioners and students in the process.
First of all, it is not you who is solely responsible for this catastrophic situation, but also your predecessors. But nursing staff should have expected a little more substance in recent years than idle promises.
One thing is becoming clearer than ever: you as minister for health have the task of ensuring that in a crisis situation nurses are safe and supported.
Of course, we will not save the day now by continuing to work without proper recognition and a safe environment to work in.
We call on you now to give very clear promises: nursing staff are a valuable asset that must now be protected and valued! It is a pity that this truth has not yet gotten through to everyone. Sometimes, sadly, it takes a crisis for the truth to be revealed.
It seems that more than 20% of all infected cases are nursing staff. And you have left it up to individual hospitals to source protective gear. It may surprise you, but that's not how it works!
This pandemic has been coming for weeks! It is also not the first globally spreading viral disease. As hard-working citizens we expected more preparation for this crisis.
We call for Immediate organisation and supply of effective protective clothing taking into account all possibilities. In a state of emergency, you will promise to nationalise manufacturers of equipment and their suppliers to protect our nursing staff!
Immediate suspension of all exams for care facilities in Ireland. Firstly, this is a possible source of infection, and secondly, everything must be avoided that, in this crisis situation, takes additional work time for the nursing staff, which is then missing in the care of the patients.
Mobilisation of all nurses from these test authorities for use in practice.
An immediate and reliable promise of a strong, state-funded wage supplement for everyone who can withstand this situation, who bring their children to emergency care groups, who work overtime, who cannot take breaks, who cannot comply with rest periods.
An immediate commitment of significant wage increases for nurses, which must be at an entry-level salary of 4,000 euros. You can save the refinancing for the period after this crisis.
We urge you! Without these measures, the ventilation machines will become redundant, because there will be no one left to operate them!
Act now, Mr Harris, before it's too late.