Dáil Éireann - Volume 522 - 27 June, 2000
Written Answers. - Nursing Staff.
Mr. Penrose Mr. Penrose
223. Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Health and Children if financial assistance will be given to nurses who qualified as SENs in England, and who now, to take up employment here, have to convert to RGNs which will cost them upwards of £10,000 in England; if they will be provided with financial assistance to do so, particularly in view of the fact that they are prepared to give commitments to come back and work with the various health boards here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18013/00]
Mr. Martin Mr. Martin
Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): There is only one level of general nurse in Ireland, that of registered general nurse, RGN. This is equivalent to the United Kingdom qualification of registered general nurse. The minimum  training required to achieve this qualification or its equivalent throughout the European Union is laid down in EU directives. The state enrolled nurse, SEN, qualification is a United Kingdom qualification which is not recognised in Ireland. However, a number of holders of that qualification are employed in the health services in other capacities, such as ward attendants and care assistants.
The issue of the provision of conversion courses in this country for SENs was considered by the Commission on Nursing. The commission noted that there is no tradition in Ireland of a registerable nursing qualification other than registered nurse. It also found that there is no precedent in Ireland for the provision of courses of the type provided for SENs in the United Kingdom. The commission did not recommend any change in the rules of An Bord Altranais in relation to the recognition of the SEN qualification or the provision of conversion courses in Ireland.
I am not in a position to provide financial assistance for holders of the SEN qualification wishing to undertake conversion courses in the United Kingdom. My priority is the continued implementation of the report of the Commission on Nursing, and all available funding is being directed towards achieving the objectives set out in the priority action plan agreed between my Department and the Nursing Alliance as part of the settlement of the nurses' strike last October.
Dáil Éireann 522 Written Answers. Nursing Staff.