Nurses to get €20 a week pay top-up
Nurses are to get a pay top-up of around €20 a week for taking over work from doctors, such as carrying out patient blood tests and giving the first dose of medicines.
The payments will be in nurses' pay packets from July but will be backdated to January.
Health Minister Leo Varadkar said the move is a win-win.
"Nurses will be able to use their new skills and they will benefit financially in return for taking on this additional work," he said. "Junior doctors will benefit as the reduced workload will help us to continue to reduce their working hours and they will be less likely to miss out on important training time in theatre and in clinics.
"Patients will benefit, as there will be fewer delays when it comes to getting their IV antibiotics, their bloods taken or discharge papers. And there will be fewer delays for patients in the clinic waiting rooms, as doctors won't be expected to be on the wards and in a clinic at the same time as frequently as they are now," he added. But the move is likely to lead to knock-on claims by unions representing other health staff.
Meanwhile, Beaumont Hospital in Dublin is cancelling all non-urgent procedures due today and tomorrow in response to emergency overcrowding. It also went off call for an hour yesterday, with patients diverted to the Mater Hospital.
It is part of its agreed escalation procedures which are triggered when the numbers of patients on trolleys reach a certain level.