SIPTU has called for major reform of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) following publication today (Thursday, 30th June) of two highly critical independent reports examining its operation. SIPTU Nursing Sector Organiser, Kevin Figgis, said: “The findings of these reports, conducted by independent consultants, are deeply concerning. They are a vindication of the concerns expressed by nurses and midwives who believed that financial and governance procedures within the NMBI, the state regulatory body for their professions, was either not in place or, where is was, it was flawed. "Our members’ worst fears have been realised, with confirmation of major deficits in governance and expenditure protocols at the NMBI. In fact, the degree of unaccountability for expenditure of our members’ fees is staggering.” He added: “It is clear that nurses and midwives were right to oppose the attempt to impose a 50% increase in the NMBI retention fee for 2015. The reports reveal excessive expenditure on external advisors and a lack of transparency on procurement processes within the NMBI. This demonstrates clearly that its structures were not working in the interest of nurses, midwives or indeed the public.” SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell said: “Our members had demanded publication by the NMBI of its annual account of expenditure so they could see what, if anything, the organisation was doing to protect and enhance the nursing and midwifery professions. It is now clear that the NMBI was not only dysfunctional but also detached from the interests of its members and the public as the regulator for the nursing and midwife professions.  “SIPTU is demanding the establishment of proper governance and oversight of the operation of the NMBI. Integral to this must be the adoption of a transparent communication protocol which allows for our members and other stakeholders to be provided with up-to-date accurate information about its work and finances.” He added: “The NMBI also has a duty to enter into a dialogue with our members and other key stakeholders with the aim of rebuilding confidence in it. Confidence in its operation is essential for a regulatory body if it is to fulfill its functions and achieve its objectives.”