Dáil Éireann - Volume 481 - 08 October, 1997

Written Answers. - Nurse Training.

[481] 147. Mr. M. Kitt asked the Minister for Education and Science when funding will be provided for student nurses starting a degree course in January 1998 in view of the high fees involved. [15796/97]

Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin): The revised programme for basic preregistration nurse education and training was introduced in October 1994 on a pilot basis by the Western Health Board and National University of Ireland, Galway at the University Hospital Galway. The programme has since been extended to a number of other colleges of nursing in association with local higher education institutions. The three year programme leads to a diploma in nursing studies and to registration with An Bord Altranais. The programmes are being funded by the regional health boards.

It is understood that the Department of Health has been engaged in consultations with a number of third level institutions, including National University of Ireland, Galway, in relation to the development of accessible degree programmes which are open both to nurses who successfully complete the new education and training programme and to nurses who qualify under the traditional model of education and training. These one year degree programmes offer members of the nursing profession an opportunity to obtain a post-registration qualification at degree level. In the 1996-97 academic year, Dublin City University operated such a one year programme and both Dublin City University and Trinity College Dublin are operating programmes in 1997-98. As these programmes are provided on a part-time, self-financing basis, the question of funding does not arise.

I understand that the National University of Ireland, Galway is proposing to offer a similar one year degree programme commencing from January 1998 on a full-time basis. My Department is currently engaged in discussions with the Higher Education Authority and the Department of Health in relation to this proposed course and I will clarify the position for the Deputy in the light of these discussions.