Head of HSE defends 'chocolates' comments about nurses

Tony O'Brien said his colleague was citing evidence when he made the comments

Head of HSE defends 'chocolates' comments about nurses

Tony O'Brien | Image: Rollingnews.ie

The Head of the HSE says a senior medic was citing evidence when he suggested incentivising nurses with chocolates.

Dr Kevin Kelleher told the Oireachtas Health Committee yesterday that there's an issue with a low uptake of vaccines amongst nurses in particular.

Kelleher suggested offering a box of chocolates to nurses to get them to take the flu vaccination. Nurses said the comments were demeaning to their profession.

The Head of the HSE, Tony O'Brien has stuck by his colleague saying on Twitter that "Is it now a 'crime to cite evidence?"

When asked about his colleagues' remarks on Twitter, Tony O'Brien said it's "Much ado about nothing. Such ideas generated by staff themselves, including nurses, and have been shown to work. Vaccine rates are the real issue."

O'Brien then backed up his colleague saying "Kevin Kelleher simply cited examples of actions- proposed by staff- that have contributed to increased uptake of vaccines by HCPs."

He finished by saying "You may not like the truth - but he was relating examples of initiatives that have worked in reality. Is it now a 'crime to cite evidence?"

Liam Doran from The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation said yesterday that Kelleher's comments were totally objectionable and that he should respect nurses' opinions and not treat them like children.