Varadkar hopes to lure Irish nurses home from UK
The unpopular 'yellowpack' scheme for nurses, offering two-year contracts at lower pay, is to be wound down.
The cost-saving scheme, introduced three years ago, was aimed at graduate nurses but, amid huge controversy, it never met its target to fill 1,000 jobs.
The news was welcomed by delegates at the annual meeting of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) yesterday, where the union launched its campaign to win back pay and conditions lost as part of the public service cuts during the recession.
INMO president Claire Mahon told the gathering in Trim that the Government "showed no patience, no understanding and no awareness when, on three separate occasions over a five-year period, it demanded immediate, draconian cuts in the pay and conditions of nurses and midwives and other public servants".
"Nurses suffered a 7pc pay cut, a 7pc pension levy and cuts to shift pay equivalent to 2pc of pay," she said.
Health Minister Leo Varadkar, who will address the conference today, said the recruitment of nurses is to be dramatically stepped up.
It includes a new initiative to retain graduating nurses while also using other avenues to attract and retain the nurses we need, which includes sourcing nurses from other countries.
There will be a targeted plan to woo back nurses from the UK, beginning next month, focusing initially on four major cities.
Mr Varadkar will tell nurses: "We all know that large numbers of nurses who trained in Ireland have left to work overseas. We want to target these nurses and persuade many of them to return to Ireland."