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Agreement reached on transfer of tasks

These tasks include taking blood, discharging patients, giving first dose antibiotics and administering drugs intravenously.

“The agreement on the transfer of tasks from non-consultant hospital doctors to nurses and midwives under the related provision in the Haddington Road Agreement has been finalised with the approval of Minister Howlin. This agreement enables the most appropriate person to undertake four specific tasks which were previously undertaken by doctors in training. They will now transfer to nursing personnel when appropriate and necessary for patient care or safety,” Minister Varadkar said.

“Since I was a medical student, people have been talking about nurses taking over these tasks from junior doctors. I am really delighted to have got it over the line as Health Minister.

“This is a win-win for everyone. Nurses will be able to use their new skills and they will benefit financially in return for taking on this additional work. Junior doctors will benefit as the reduced workload will help us to continue to reduce their working hours and they will be less likely to miss out on important training time in theatre and in clinics.

“Patients will benefit as there will be fewer delays when it comes to getting their IV antibiotics, their bloods taken or discharge papers, and there will be fewer delays for patients in the clinic waiting rooms as doctors won’t be expected to be on the wards and in a clinic at the same time as frequently as they are now.”

The four tasks and their associated elements are:

· Intravenous cannulation

· Phlebotomy

· Intravenous drug administration (first dose)

· Nurse led discharge

Training will come into effect immediately and it will operate mainly in acute hospitals but also in some district hospitals, according to the Department of Health.

“This is a practical reform at ward level that will make things better for patients and staff alike. It is expected to be cost neutral as the costs of implementation will be offset by reduced unscheduled overtime by doctors. It is also a good example of the Haddington Road Agreement in action with pay being restored in return for valuable changes in work practices and reform,” commented the Minister.

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