SIPTU demand HIQA immediately inspect overcrowded hospitals

SIPTU has called on the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) to immediately inspect hospitals around the country where patient and staff safety is threatened by severe overcrowding. 

SIPTU Health Divisional Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “SIPTU members are very concerned that there is no plan to address the worrying trend that has been developing since September of patient safety, dignity and care being threatened by severe overcrowding”.

He added that due to the HSE being unable to confirm that the identified hospitals are safe for both patients and staff the HIQA must investigate urgently.

“Our members are asking why, despite this growing national emergency in our hospitals, the statutory body tasked with ensuring levels of patient safety are maintained, HIQA, has not begun inspecting these facilities. These hospitals are clearly overrun and understaffed. Our members are calling on HIQA to put the public’s mind at ease by investigating whether or not these hospitals are safe for patients and staff.

“SIPTU members are astonished that this crisis has been allowed to get to this stage. Let’s be very clear we are not here because of a winter vomiting bug or a flu epidemic. We are here because if you strip away 2000 hospital beds through cuts, if you don’t recruit and retain nurses, health care assistants and emergency personal, you end up with the kind of dysfunctional health service that our members are working in and patients are being treated in.” 

Members stay united in opposing increase in NMBI fees

Thousands of SIPTU nursing and midwife members have followed the advice of their union to pay a €100 retention fee to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) when their personal circumstances allow, rather than the €150 demanded by that organisation.

SIPTU Nursing Sector Organiser, Kevin Figgis, said: “I would ask members to realise that this campaign of opposition is not just about the proposed fee increase for 2015. I would ask members to recall that the fee was increased, by over 12%, this time last year and the NMBI has clearly said they reserve their position, with regard to further increases, for 2016 and beyond.

“This, obviously, completely ignores the income reductions that nurses and midwives have suffered in recent years, and the NMBI, as a monopoly, cannot increase its fees by 50% and maintain credibility.

Against this background SIPTU is again reminding members of the following:

1.         Members should now pay €100 (the existing fee), by cheque/postal order/credit transfer when their personal circumstances allow.

2.         The union will be distributing badges in all workplaces, which members can wear to demonstrate they have paid €100 and remain on the register.

3.         The NMBI has confirmed that its own internal procedures provides for a second reminder, which will issue after 2nd February 2015, allowing for a further 28 days before the matter goes before the NMBI Board in March/April.

4.         The HSE has confirmed that it only requires confirmation of registration for 2015, by 30th April 2015.  Therefore there is no requirement for any local demand for confirmation of registration before this date (the HSE issued a circular on 23rd December 2014 on this matter).

5.         SIPTU and its fellow nursing unions remain in contact with the Department of Health concerning the attempt by the NMBI to impose a fee increase and whether this breaches the Haddington Road Agreement.

Note to members making a payment to the NMBI:

When making this €100 payment, after 5th January, it should be made through one of the following methods; by Cheque; or Postal Order; or Credit Transfer

NMBI bank details are:

Sort Code – 901490

A/C – 97384636

BIC – BOFIIE2DXXX

IBAN – IE09BOF190149097384636

Bank name – Bank of Ireland

Bank address – Baggot Street Lower

When making the payment of €100, regardless of which of the three methods used, members should quote their unique NMBI Pin Number and maintain a record of payment.

Call for pay rises for all workers

SIPTU General President, Jack O’Connor, has called for pay rises for workers across the private and public sectors as the economy makes a faster than expected recovery.

In response to the employers’ organisation, IBEC, stating that the majority of its members will implement pay rises averaging 2% over the coming year, O’Connor, told RTE News on Friday (2nd January), SIPTU hopes the rises would be greater and more widespread.

He said: “We hope to do better. We would hope that more workers would be covered and we hope that we will do better than 2% given the substantial increase in productivity since 2009”.

O’Connor has also called for early talks between unions and the Government on pay restoration for public sector workers.

O’Connor said that the faster than expected recovery should see the Government enter negotiations well in advance of the Haddington Road Agreement expiring next year.

He said: “We’re now expecting to record growth this year of something between 4.5-5.5%, depending on which commentator you’re listening to. That’s considerably in advance of where everybody expected we would be.So if the recovery is running a year ahead, then we should be looking at rolling back the pay cuts across the economy”.

SIPTU Health Divisional Organiser Paul Bell supports the calls for pay restoration and told SIPTUhealth.ie that income recovery for health workers has always been at the heart of the Better Health Care, Better Jobs campaign. 

“Our members have been in the firing line over the last number of painful years of recession. They have had their pay cut, they have been doing the job of two or three workers and been under constant pressure to deliver a quality standard of care to the most vulnerable people in our society.  

Our members in the health service deserve decent jobs and a secure livelihood to support themselves and their families and they should be first in the queue now that the economy is turning the corner”

HSE confirm no proof of NMBI Payment until 30th April 2015

Nurses and Midwives are being advised they do not have pay the increased NMBI retention fee of €150 by the 1st of January 2015 and being encouraged to pay €100 only to the NMBI when they can afford it.

In a joint statement from SIPTU/INMO/PNA thousands of nurses and midwives, who have supported the campaign, in opposition to this NMBI fee increase, over the last number of weeks were thanked and encouraged to stay strong.
Sector Organiser Kevin Figgis said that despite the frequently threatening, and at times contradictory, statements, from NMBI, thousands of nurses and midwives have followed the campaign and will, when their personal circumstance allows, pay €100, by cheque/postal order or credit transfer, to NMBI.

Mr Figgis also assured members that the HSE confirmed it would not take any nurse or midwife, off the payroll, pending further developments; and that the Department of Health confirmed they are continuing to engage, with the NMBI, with a view to resolving the current impasse.

A circular realised by the HSE confirmed that registration is not required before 30th April 2015 and therefore there is no necessity to request verification of payment from nurses and midwives before that date.

Speaking to SIPTUhealth.ie Mr Figgis said NMBI also confirmed it will issue a second renewal notice on the 2 February, allowing a further 28 days for payment, before the issue could go before the Board and that all nurses and midwives are entitled to practice nursing and midwifery once registered, and no change in registration status can occur before March of 2015 at the very earliest.

We would ask members to realise that this campaign of opposition is not just about the proposed fee increase for 2015.  We would ask members to recall that the fee was increased, by over 12%, this time last year and NMBI have clearly said they reserve their position, with regard to further increases, for 2016 and beyond.  This, obviously, completely ignores the income reductions that nurses and midwives have suffered, in recent years, and NMBI, as a monopoly, cannot increase its fees by 50% and maintain credibility.

Mr Figgis also thanked every member for the response to the social media picture protest.

“Our members uploaded pictures, from workplaces all over the country and that has given the campaign a great boost. The response clearly shows massive support for this campaign. These pictures have been sent to local TDs/Senators, many of whom have responded through Twitter/Facebook, indicating their support for our campaign and the payment of €100 as an annual retention fee.”

Badges, confirming payment of €100 and that you are still registered, will be distributed, to workplaces, in the early days of the New Year, and we would ask members to wear them when at work to keep the campaign strong and all nurses and midwives united,” concluded Mr Figgis.

Note to members making a payment to the NMBI:

When making this €100 payment, after 05th January, it should be made through one of the following methods; By Cheque; or Postal Order; or Credit Transfer

NMBI bank details are:

Sort Code – 901490

A/C – 97384636

BIC – BOFIIE2DXXX

IBAN – IE09BOF190149097384636

Bank name – Bank of Ireland

Bank address – Baggot Street Lower

When making the payment of €100, regardless of which of the three methods used, members should quote their unique NMBI Pin Number and maintain a record of payment.

Latest circular from HSE

HSE Policy on Certification 

Further update on method of payment

NMBI Picture Protest – Get Involved

SIPTU, and other health unions, have organised a nationwide social media picture protest under the hashtag #no2NMBIincreases from noon Wednesday the 17th of December until Friday the 19th of December.

Sector Organiser Kevin Figgis said that all members can join in the nationwide workplace social media picture protest that will confirm broad support for the no to the NMBI fee increase campaign.

“The NMBI special board met last Friday, 12th December 2014 and it did not result in any new developments so we have no alternative but to continue our campaign of opposition to this unfair and unjustified tax on our members work.

We decided on having a social media event because we want a visual wall of opposition to this NMBI increase and we are asking all of our members to upload a picture of opposition onto social media with the hashtag #no2NMBIincreases and to email them to ask@siptuhealth.ie to be uploaded onto the Union’s Facebook, Twitter and website,” said Mr Figgis.

Mr Figgis also said that SIPTU members should cancel NMBI direct debits, if not already done so.

“We are encouraging our members to pay €100, after 5th January 2015, or when your personal circumstances allow and remind all members that no-one has to pay by 1st January, ignore recent statements from NMBI which, regretfully, continue to be threatening and misleading,” Mr Figgis concluded.

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NMBI Social Media Event

As a further action in the ongoing campaign of opposition to the proposed NMBI retention fee increase, SIPTU and the other health unions are organising a social media event between 12.00 noon on Wednesday, 17th December 2014 and 3.00 p.m. on Friday, 19th December 2014.

Sector Organiser Kevin Figgis said the event will increase awareness, amongst the general public, and visibly show all politicians, in this country, that nurses and midwives are not going to pay this 50% increase but will continue to pay the current €100 fee.

“On Wednesday, 17th December, after 12.00 noon, this “Thunderclap” is planned to allow every nurse/midwife to demonstrate their solidarity with this campaign. Once the event is captured, from each individual workplace, it will create a massive visual presentation, of opposition to the fee increase, from every workplace across the country.

Our advice to members is to keep the campaign of resistance going and this thunderclap is a simple, straightforward but effective opportunity to demonstrate that every workplace, is fully supportive of, and committed to, this campaign.”

IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO MEMBERS

Download the latest update including meeting of NMBI and reminder about cancelling direct debits

NMBI CAMPAIGN CONTINUES – STAY UNITED – SUPPORT IS STRONG

SIPTU and other health unions are urging members to stay united and to immediately cancel any direct debit they have with the NMBI if they have not already done so.

Sector Organiser Kevin Figgis said that only after 05th January 2015 members should make a payment of €100 to NMBI but assured any SIPTU member that may be under financial pressures over the Christmas period that making their payment of €100 in January/early February is perfectly fine.

Mr Figgis also confirmed that as part of on-going campaign to stop the unjustified NMBI increase a Workplace Social Media Event has been planned for Wednesday, 17th December which will allow members, in all workplaces across the country, demonstrate their commitment to, and participation in, the campaign.

Mr Figgis also confirmed that over the New Year badges will be sent to allow members to display and confirm that they are registered, have paid their €100 and are participating in this campaign.

“This co-ordinated and strong campaign between SIPTU, INMO and the PNA will allow all union members show mutual solidarity and provide for a visible expression of participation in the campaign,” concluded Mr Figgis.

Note to members

When making this €100 payment, after 05th January, it should be made through one of the following methods;

  • By Cheque; or Postal Order; or Credit Transfer

In relation to payment via credit transfer members should contact their union for the bank account details of NMBI required to organise the €100 payment. Also when making the payment of €100, regardless of which of the three methods used, members should quote their unique NMBI Pin Number and maintain a record of payment.

12/03/2014 Comments are off Health Division
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SIPTU calls on members to ignore threatening statements from NMBI

SIPTU has advised members to ignore a recent and threatening, statement from the Nurses and Midwives Board of Ireland (NMBI) with regard to the current campaign of opposition to the 50% increase in retention fee being sought by that organisation.

Along with the two other nursing unions, SIPTU is calling on nurses and midwives to pay a retention fee, of €100, to NMBI, after 5th January 2015 rather than the €150 that organistion is demanding. The €100 fee is the same retention fee levied on other allied health professionals.

SIPTU Sector Organiser, Kevin Figgis, said: “In its most recent correspondence which, regrettably, was again negative and threatening in tone, NMBI has confirmed that a fee reminder will issue, around 2nd February 2015, allowing a further 28 days for payment of the fee before it goes before any board meeting.

“This is confirmation that there is no requirement to pay any fee, in full, by 1st January 2015, as NMBI had previously claimed”.

He added: “SIPTU is advising members to immediately cancel any direct debits with NMBI. Members can email NMBI, at directdebits@nmbi.ie, confirming they wish to cancel their direct debit”.

Members who have any difficulty regarding cancelling their direct debit to NMBI should immediately contact the SIPTU Health Division.

HIQA report challenging but achievable

SIPTU members in the National Ambulance Service (NAS) and Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) are studying the recommendations contained in the HIQA “Review of pre-hospital emergency care services” which they have described as “challenging but achievable”.

SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “In its 12 recommendations the HIQA review group brings clarity to many of the areas which our members in the National Ambulance Service have identified as a cause for concern over a long period of time. The recommendations will be challenging in both how they are applied within the ambulance service. However, there is a concern that the recommendations are made without the benefit of viewing the, as yet unpublished, national capacity review of the ambulance service commissioned by the HSE. It is also evident that the implementation of the recommendations will require a commitment from the Government for additional resources”.

He added: “Recommendation 7 requires detailed clarification as it suggests that the key performance indicators in life threatening calls must take into account the difference in ambulance response times in a urban or rural setting”.

SIPTU Sector Organiser, Brendan O’Brien said: “SIPTU members in the Dublin Fire Brigade refute any suggestion by HIQA that ambulance services can be substantially improved without greater funding being made available. There is information which shows the DFB Ambulance service has a very high efficiency rate. Also, we welcome the fact that the report highlights the DFB’s existing clinic audit procedures. This indicates that patient outcome will now become a key performance indicator.

“We also agree with the call for a proper Service Level Agreement for the ambulance service, which must include the provision of direct funding for the DFB Ambulance Service. In relation to the HIQA report highlighting the 14,000 queued emergency calls received by DFB in 2013, it should be noted that during times when demand outstrips ambulance capacity DFB fire appliances staffed by qualified paramedics are utilised in life threatening emergencies”.

11/26/2014 Comments are off Health Division
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Abolish unfair USC

The SIPTU National Executive Council (NEC) has called for the abolition of the Universal Social Charge (USC). The charge, which was introduced as an emergency measure by the Fianna Fáil – Green Party government in 2011, is a regressive tax which makes no distinction between low and high income earners.

According to SIPTU President, Jack O’Connor, the USC “is at odds with the generally progressive character of the PAYE system in that a person on the minimum wage pays at the same level as those at the top of the income spectrum.”

The USC is expected to raise €4 billion in 2015 and plays a crucial role in generating revenues for the State.

“Accordingly, it cannot be abolished in one fell swoop without enormous consequences for those who depend on public services. Therefore, it would be necessary to replace it with other measures to generate revenue from wealth and those on higher incomes. Even in that context it can only be phased out gradually,” O’Connor said.

“Apart from re-distributing the burden so that the better off contribute more, projected levels of economic growth over the next few years, if they are realised, will offer the possibility of making progress.”

“What is needed is a plan to abolish the USC on a phased basis over a period of time. This would entail a combination of measures shifting a greater degree of the burden to the wealthy and those on high incomes on the one hand and deploying a portion of the benefits of economic growth each year on gradually reducing the level of USC in a progressive way that is focused on low to middle earners.”