THERE is further disarray in the health service with nurses and midwives furious over an increase of nearly 80pc in their professional registration fees over two years.
The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) has increased the yearly registration rate to €150 - up from €88 two years ago and €100 this year.
Nurses and midwives will next week launch a protest against the "draconian" increase in the fee for 2015, at the office of the board on Pearse Street in Dublin's city centre.
And the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has called on its members to cancel all direct debit payments to the board and to refuse to pay the fee.
The union has been joined by SIPTU and the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) in opposing the increase. Nurses have begun sending letters of protest to the board.
The NMBI is the regulatory body for the nursing profession in Ireland and it maintains the register of nurses here.
Its goals include the provision of education and training to nurses and to give guidance for the profession.
Liam Doran, general secretary of the INMO, told the Herald that the increase was "inexplicable and indefensible".
"The board doesn't have the confidence of nurses and midwives," he said.
He added that nurses were angry with the increase and said that it was "completely out of line" with the registration fees owed by workers with similar salaries - such as teachers who pay €65 a year.
"Nurses will pay the €100 fee, but they are not going to pay €150," Mr Doran said.
The NMBI has said that fees had to be increased after laws were passed in 2011 requiring it to hold public fitness to practice and professional misconduct hearings from this year.
A spokesperson for the board said that, although the increase was unfortunate, it was a self-funding organisation with statutory obligations.
He said that there was a significant cost attached to providing public hearings.