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Nurses were paid €75,000 in overtime last year

Hse Nurses

Nurses were paid €75,000 in overtime last year – Nurses were paid €75,000 in overtime last year – Gillian Kelly asks the question, are our nurses overworked? 

A nurse was paid almost €140,000 after working overtime last year.  Nurses have to do overtime because of shortages in staff.  However working long hours could be putting the patient’s lives at risk.  Liam Doran of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation said the payments were ‘inexcusable’.  He said that overtime is bad for the nurses and bad for the patients.  The HSE said that shortages are the most acute in the mental health area.  Des Kavanagh of the Psychiatric Nurses Association said that he is concerned about the health of both the patients and the staff.  ‘For that person to earn €75,000 must have meant that they were living in the hospital’.   He said rather than overworking regular staff it would make more sense to hire recent graduates.

The HSE said that it is important to note that overtime costs are just one element of overall labour costs and need to be considered in the context of the direct pay costs and agency costs.  The Minister for Primary Care, Kathleen Lynch said that staff who are due to retire in the next few months have being told that they can’t retire now due to a shortage of staff.  The HSE stated that ‘It is anticipated that the recent decision in relation to deferring the date for enhanced pension arrangements will assists us in retaining a number of staff that had intended to retire this year’. Doctor’s salaries consisted of around €221,970 last year, which is more than the Taoiseach is paid.  Midwives around the country were paid €244,934 last year.

It is this writer’s opinion that overworking people is detrimental to their health. Liam Doran states that overtime is unhealthy for nurses and their patients.  I agree that this could cause them to get adrenal fatigue or ‘burn out’. I myself have been overworked in different jobs and I have experienced health problems such as anxiety and fatigue because of this.  As a result of this my work suffered because I was so tired I couldn’t concentrate properly.  The safety of their patients is also at risk because how can they care for their patients when they are so tired and stressed?  They probably get no time to socialise and their relationships will suffer because of this.  I think an excess of money does not bring health and happiness if the person does not have the time to enjoy it. Why should these health care professionals risk their health and happiness because of poor HSE decisions?

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