independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Nurses' job scheme 'not being extended to physiotherapists'

Physiotherapists and occupational therapists, who believed they would soon be offered a two-year contract deal on lower pay in the health service, will not be able to avail of such a scheme in the short-term.

SIPTU said it was told by the Department of Health that it had no plans for now to extend the scheme beyond graduate nurses.

Health Minister James Reilly indicated over the weekend that he was looking at offering two-year contract jobs, on a salary of around €22,000 – 80pc of the normal starting salary – to therapy grades also.

However, SIPTU official Kevin Figgis said he had received confirmation from the department that it did not intend to extend the controversial nurse graduate scheme.

"The issue was raised at a meeting with Department of Health officials following weekend media reports which claimed that the minister was considering implementing a 20pc reduction in the pay of newly graduated health professionals similar to that envisaged for nurses.

"At the meeting, the officials confirmed that there was no proposal to extend the graduate recruitment programme and that the comment attributed to the minister was not consistent with any policy initiative being explored by health service management," he added.

The scheme for nurses has received an initial lukewarm response. Unlike nurses, however, the take-up among physiotherapists for such a scheme is likely to be much greater.

The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists has already said it supported the principle of JobBridge for its unemployed members.

Irish Independent

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