HSE director suggests chocolates as incentive for nurse vaccinations

The INMO branded these suggestions as demeaning to their profession

A senior Health Service Executive director has told The Oireachtas Health Committee that chocolates could be used as an incentive to encourage nurses to get the flu vaccine.

Assistant National Director for Health Protection Dr Kevin Kelleher said giving chocolates to nurses would provide an incentive to get them to take up the flu vaccination.

Nurses have responded by saying that insinuating they can be bribed with a box of chocolates is demeaning to their profession.

Dr Kelleher told the committee "What works is you need to have leadership in the institutions and leadership from the nurses themselves".

He continued by saying "Incentives work, ranging from giving them chocolates, chocolates work very well," before adding that "Draws for iPads work very well in improving the uptake."

He said the difficulty was predominantly with "nurses' attitudes" towards flu vaccination.

INMO response

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation's Liam Doran said Kelleher's comments are disrespectful.

He said it was a perfect example of why Irish nurses and midwives walked away from the Irish health sector.

He also said it was another example of someone, distantly removed, being condescending, patronising and insulting to nurses and midwives. 

Liam Doran said that kind of comment was totally objectionable and Dr Kelleher should respect nurses' opinions and not treat them like children.