15/01/2021 Comments are off SIPTU Health

SIPTU says safe functioning of the health service in grave danger

SIPTU Health representatives have today (Friday, 15th January) said the Covid-19 infection rates of health care workers are unsustainable and putting the safe functioning of the health service in grave danger. 

SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Kevin Figgis, said: “Over 5,000 health workers have been infected with Covid-19 since Christmas. Four out of five infected are women and workers in support grades including Health Care Assistants, porters, catering assistants and home care workers are in the majority of those infected. This level of infection is completely unsustainable.

“Health workers across all grades are being decimated while this virus is raging out of control across our health service. It is clear that health care workers are not safe in work and the current rate of infection is putting the safe functioning of the service in grave danger. We are again calling for the immediate recruitment of additional and essential staff to assist all health workers on the frontline.”

He added: “While this data is alarming and a cause of real concern for our members its publication is to be welcomed. It provides public health officials and union representatives with an opportunity to map out realistic solutions and stronger workplace protections for all.”

12/01/2021 Comments are off SIPTU Health

SIPTU concerned about delays for ambulances at emergency departments

SIPTU representatives have expressed concern that issues of bed capacity and overcrowding in hospital emergency departments (EDs) will continue to affect the work of the National Ambulance Service. They have called on the HSE to immediately fast track the recruitment of thousands of additional staff as a matter of urgency in the fight against Covid-19.

SIPTU Organiser, Ciaran Sheridan, said: “SIPTU members at Letterkenny University Hospital have reported that the situation in relation to delays to the admission of sick patients has slightly improved. However, there are concerns that the distressing scenes witnessed last Sunday will be repeated. In attempts to ensure availability of emergency ambulances we have sought details regarding resilience measures and the provision of additional resources to prevent, or alleviate, further delays.”

Don Brennan, an Advanced Paramedic and SIPTU Shop Steward said: “We are pre-hospital practitioners and to be parked up outside an ED providing care presents new challenges for us. It is not conducive to optimum patient care and increases the difficulties in providing an acceptable level of comfort.”

SIPTU Ambulance Sector Organiser, Miriam Hamilton, said that the issue of delays in handing over patients at hospitals is not new. 

“SIPTU members have previously demanded the introduction of an emergency hand-over protocol to assist ambulance crews who are unable to deliver patients to hospital staff due to overcrowding and lack of bed capacity. The lack of capacity in receiving hospitals is preventing our members in the NAS from doing their jobs. Trained ambulance professionals with highly equipped vehicles are sitting outside hospitals when we need them to be available to respond to emergencies in our communities,” she said.

08/01/2021 Comments are off SIPTU Health

SIPTU says Minister for Health must act now to remove roadblocks to health service recruitment

SIPTU representatives have today (Friday, 8th January) urged the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, to immediately intervene and remove any roadblocks to health service recruitment as part of an emergency effort to address the unsustainable staffing crisis that is spreading right across the health service. 

SIPTU Health Divisional Organiser, Kevin Figgis, said: “The current stress on our health services is completely unsustainable. Patient numbers are rising while staffing levels are falling. The Minister must act now and make sure recruitment is fast tracked to ensure health workers are supported in this hour of national emergency.” 

“The reality is that health staff shortages are everywhere. They are all across the board in acute settings, mental health services, care in the community and the National Ambulance Service, no area of care hasn’t been severely impacted upon in recent days from Covid-19 infections, symptoms or the challenges health workers are facing attending work due to care commitments. 

“There is a growing, distinct and deep frustration from our members that despite the fanfare, the Government, the Department of Health and the Health Service Executive (HSE) have not moved quick enough to recruit at least some of the 16,000 additional health workers they pledged as part of an additional €4 billion for the health service in Budget 2021.”

He added: “Over recent weeks, and as the spread of the virus has intensified, our members have also been left in the dark over how many health care workers have tested positive for Covid-19. The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) were producing weekly reports to give health workers and their representatives a fuller understanding of the infection rates in essential health settings but since Wednesday 23rd December there has been unacceptable silence. We would ask that the Minister would also rectify this as a matter of urgency.”

02/01/2021 Comments are off SIPTU Health

SIPTU Health representatives urge HSE to guarantee proper childcare supports for frontline workers

SIPTU Health representatives have today (Saturday, 2nd January) called on the management of the Health Service Executive (HSE) to guarantee proper supports are immediately put in place to assist health workers with childcare commitments reporting for work when schools and pre-school services are closed across the country next week.  

SIPTU Health Divisional Organiser, Kevin Figgis, said: “The decision to keep schools and pre-school services closed until Monday 11th January has created considerable uncertainty for workers and poses a significant challenge for our members working on the frontline of our hospitals, nursing homes and communities.

“As we enter the next critical phase of the pandemic and with transmission rates soaring, it is essential that the health service has all hands on deck. 

Over the last number of days, SIPTU Health representatives have worked with colleagues on the staff panel of unions to get a guarantee from the health service employers that arrangements are put in place to make sure all health workers with childcare commitments are fully supported in the weeks ahead.”

He added: “From the very start of this pandemic and through each lockdown health care workers have made every effort to have childcare arrangements in place enabling them to keep our health service going. The reality is that the decision to close these facilities has far reaching consequences for working parents in the health service. The employer has an obligation to make sure that this essential workforce can get to work and make sure our health service can cope with any potential surge in hospital admissions next week.”