Nursing and Midwifery Board should freeze proposed increase in fees – Buttimer

Monday, 5th January 2015

  • Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland should put a stay on the increase in the Annual Retention Fee.
  • Necessary for NMBI to have meaningful engagement with nurses and midwives.

This year there is an increase of 50% in the Annual Retention Fee; it is going from €100 to €150 and is causing concern to nurses and midwives across the county. Over the course of two years these fees have increased by 80%.

The NMBI was set up as an independent board that sets its own fees and covers its own costs. But these increases are a worrying trend for nurses and midwives. The NMBI should put an immediate stay on the increase in the Annual Retention Fee 2015 as an initial compromise measure to begin the process of restoring the confidence of nurses and midwives in the Board. This should then be followed by meaningful engagement between NMBI, INMO, HSE and Department of Health. A key element of these discussions should be the involvement of a third party to independently assess the cost base of the Board.

The increased fees facing nurses and midwives contrasts with the position of other health professionals. As part of the Haddington Road Agreement registration fees for health professionals brought under the remit of CORU have been frozen. The result of this is that nurses and midwives are the only group facing an increased charge.

I have written to Dr Maura Pidgeon, CEO, of the NMBI, and asked that the Board considers these suggestions. Trust and confidence of nurses and midwives in NMBI has been undermined by these large increases in fees. It is imperative that the cost base is reassessed and the fee structure is reviewed, this process should begin with an immediate freeze of the proposed increase for 2015.


Posted under Health, National Work

Advertising of cosmetic surgery must be reviewed – Buttimer

Thursday, 18th December 2014

  • Issue of unregistered practitioners of cosmetic surgery considered by Health Committee.
  • Advertising and regulation of cosmetic surgery must be reviewed and changed.

The advertising and regulation of cosmetic surgery must be reviewed as a matter of urgency and ultimately changed to protect people.   Under the current regime the regulation of medical procedures is divided between numerous bodies.  There is a need to examine if all of these strands can be brought together in the interests of patients.

It was truly shocking to hear at the Oireachtas Health Committee an example that a person with skin cancer was offered and underwent laser treatment in a beauty salon.  Needless to say the procedure was ineffective and that proper medical treatment was still required.  It is completely unacceptable that rogue operators can offer ineffective treatments for serious medical conditions.  Action is needed so that those who are putting people’s health and lives at risk can be held responsible and prevented from continuing with their dangerous activities.

The way medical procedures are advertised is also a serious issue.  Every medical treatment is serious and carries risks Advertising that trivialises treatments and makes it appear like any other consumer product potentially misleads patients.  Financial inducements, ‘two for one’ deals and celebrity endorsements are not appropriate methods for advertising medical procedures.  These practices can result in people undergoing unnecessary procedures without fully considering all consequences.

Medical procedures must be regulated in a way that places the patient’s needs front and centre.  We must ensure that patients are suitable for the procedure and aware of the risks involved, that the practitioner is properly trained for the procedure being offered and that treatment takes place in safe premises.  Unfortunately this does not always happen.

Posted under Health, National Work

Parliamentary Question: Medical Card application procedures

Question to the Minister of State at the Department of Health (Ms. Kathleen Lynch, TD)

For WRITTEN ANSWER on 18/12/2014

To ask the Minister for Health the additional flexibility that will be facilitated when determining a persons means and taking into account the burden of an illness under his proposed changes to the medical card application procedures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer T.D.


The Deputy  will be aware of the recent publication of the reports of the Expert Panel on Medical Need and Medical Card Eligibility and the external review of the Medical Card Process.

In the light of the conclusions of the two reports, a range of actions are being, or will be, put into effect immediately or in the short-term by the HSE. One such action is the HSE’s putting arrangements in place for a more sensible processing of medical card applications involving significant medical conditions. These ensure greater interaction between the central office regarding the assessment of a person’s eligibility and the local health office regarding the person’s medical condition and the services that they may require. Another action to be progressed in the short term is the development of a single, integrated process for people to apply for a medical card, a GP visit card, the Long-Term Illness scheme and the Drugs Payment Scheme. In addition, a clinical advisory group will shortly be established by the HSE to develop guidance on assessing applications involving significant medical conditions so as to take account of the burden involved and the needs arising from the condition and to ensure that appropriate services are provided to people who need them. This guidance will be drawn up by this group over the coming months.

Posted under Health, Parliamentary Questions