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Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Duty Period of Nursing Personnel.

Thursday, 15 December 1966

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 226 No. 5

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Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan asked the Minister for Health if, having regard to the very long hours which hospital matrons and other nursing administrative personnel are obliged to work, steps will be taken to reduce their working week and the lengthy periods during which they are required to be continuously on duty.

Mr. Carty (for the Minister for Health): Information on Michael Carty Zoom on Michael Carty My direct responsibilities in this matter relate to health authority hospitals.

The Deputy will appreciate that because of her extremely important role in the day-to-day operation of the hospital a matron will find it extremely difficult to adhere to clearly defined hours of duty such as apply in the case of nursing staff. Situations will constantly arise when a Matron's advice and direction will be required by other members of the hospital staff. Assistant matrons are included in the establishment of all of the larger health authority hospitals and, in a number of cases, other senior nursing staff are also available to share the responsibilities of nursing administration. I would hope that despite the demands on matrons and other senior nursing administrators, it should be possible to devise arrangements to ensure that they secure a reasonable amount of leisure free from their arduous duties.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan Will the Minister have regard to the fact that while these [614] people have all the responsibility to which he has referred, most of them enjoy very little leisure? Frequently they are called upon to be on duty for as long as 18 hours. It is high time something was done to relieve the burden on these most responsible people.

Mr. Carty: Information on Michael Carty Zoom on Michael Carty The burden has been relieved in so far as possible by the creation of the post of assistant matron and by the creation of special responsible posts for other senior nurses. We have had no complaints from the health authorities. While we know they work very hard, there has been no complaint that they are overworked.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan We could do a great deal more.

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