25/03/2021 Comments are off AideenC

SIPTU criticises response from health minister regarding student radiographers

SIPTU representatives have today (Thursday, 25th March) written to the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, criticising his refusal to meet student radiographers and expressing extreme disappointment over his lack of commitment to address any of the serious concerns over clinical placements during the pandemic. 

SIPTU Industrial Organiser, John McCamley, said: “The response from the Minister’s office is not acceptable. Student radiographers over the last year have put their lives at risk carry out frontline work for no financial reward and to be left high and dry by the Minister is completely shocking. It is scandalous that up to 400 student radiographers continue to make an essential contribution to the health service and are not being recognised for their work. 

“The reality is that clinical placements involve direct patient care and assisting qualified radiographers in hospital X-ray departments and theatres. The pandemic has exacerbated the challenges faced by student radiographers. Due to fears of cross-contamination, lockdowns and public health restrictions many students are unable to earn any income by working part-time, causing them further financial difficulties. Student radiographers with no choice but to self-isolate have to make up the time later in the year. They are not entitled to sick pay or any of the other protections enjoyed by directly employed health staff even though they face many of the same challenges and risks as other frontline workers.”

He added: “At a very minimum, student radiographers should be treated like other student groups carrying out clinical placements in the health service. SIPTU representatives are again calling on the Minister to address the issues and concerns of student radiographers as a matter of priority.”

15/03/2021 Comments are off AideenC

COVID-19 Vaccine Staff Update on AstraZeneca vaccine

A decision has been made to temporarily defer administration of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. As many of you, our frontline healthcare workers have received the AstraZeneca vaccine the HSE have prepared the following information for you. 

The HSE have advised that the deferral is being put in place as a precautionary step, while further information about some reported adverse events is reviewed by the EMA, the European Medicines Agency.

As more information is available, the HSE have advises that they will keep all health workers informed.

Questions and Answers from the HSE 

Why has the use of AstraZeneca Vaccine been temporarily deferred? 

Following a new safety alert received late on 13th March (from Norway), and pending receipt of further information from the EMA, as a precaution, the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) have recommended a temporary deferral of administration of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® in Ireland. 

Pending further advice, the use of AstraZeneca vaccine will be temporarily deferred for the week commencing the 14th March 2021. 

The alert originated from the Norwegian Medicines Agency following four new reports of serious rare clotting, or thromboembolic, events, including some complicated by low platelet levels, or thrombocytopenia, in younger adults. These occurred after vaccination with COVID 19 Vaccine AstraZeneca. At this time, no link between the events and the vaccine have been confirmed.

The EMA is already investigating a number of reports of thromboembolic events from the AstraZeneca Vaccine and a report is expected over the coming days. 

EMA information from 12th March was that the number of clotting or thromboembolic events in vaccinated people is no higher than the number seen in the general population. As of 10 March 2021, 30 cases of thromboembolic events had been reported among close to 5 million people vaccinated with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® in the European Economic Area. 

This vaccine along with the others, is a very important tool in our fight against COVID-19 disease. 

What should I do if I have an appointment today or in the next few days to receive COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® vaccine? 

You should not attend your appointment for COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® until you receive further contact from the HSE about the resumption of the programme. 

You should continue to follow all COVID-19 precautions in the meantime. 

Any appointments for a first or second dose of Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine can still go ahead as they are not included in this safety alert. This includes appointments for people aged 70 and over who are being vaccinated by GPs.

What about my second dose of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® vaccine? 

The recommended dose interval between the first and second dose of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® is 12 weeks. There are no appointments scheduled for second doses at the present time. Further information will be provided about second doses as soon as it is available 

What should I do if I have already received COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® vaccine? 

The events reported are very rare, and we do not know if they are caused by the vaccine. This vaccine is a very important tool in our fight against COVID-19 disease. 

We know that side effects of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® can occur within the first couple of days after receiving the vaccine. 

After the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, more than 1 in 10 people may experience: 

· feeling tired 

· tenderness, bruising, pain, redness or itching in the arm where they 

· had the vaccine injection 

· headache 

· muscle pain 

· joint pain 

· nausea, diarrhoea or vomiting 

· fever (temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or above) 

More than 1 in 100 people may have redness or swelling where they had the injection. 

It’s common to develop a fever (temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or above) after any vaccination. This usually happens within 2 days (48 hours) of getting the vaccine. It usually goes away within 2 days. 

If you feel uncomfortable, take paracetamol or ibuprofen following the instructions on the box or leaflet.

What if I still feel unwell more than 3 days after my vaccine? 

People who have received the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® and feel increasingly unwell for more than three days after vaccination, and/or who notice larger or smaller blue spots in the skin (purpuric, non-blanching rash, skin haemorrhages) should consult a doctor or out-of-hours medical service. 

The rare events that have been reported have usually occurred within 14 days of receiving the vaccine. And, it’s important to remember that there is no proven link between these events and the vaccine at this time.

What else should we remember?

COVID-19 is a serious disease which has caused significant disease and death across the world including Ireland. COVID-19 vaccines have been developed and authorised for use after rigorous testing and have a favourable safety profile. 

More than 100,000 doses of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca® have been used in Ireland so far, mainly in frontline healthcare workers, and we can already see the significant reduction in cases of COVID-19 disease in this group after the vaccine programme. 

What are the next steps?

Further information is expected from the EMA in the next few days, which will include a review of these additional events. This information will be reviewed by NIAC and further advice on the programme will be issued following this. The HSE has committed to keeping members updated and share information as it is available.

Read the Statement from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC)

03/03/2021 Comments are off SIPTU Health

SIPTU members working in the Bon Secours Health System to ballot for strike action

SIPTU members working in the Bon Secours Health System are to commence a national ballot for industrial action, up to and including strike action, in an effort to secure a job evaluation process for up to 500 support grade workers.

SIPTU Sector Organiser, Miriam Hamilton, said: “Following wide consultation over the last number of weeks with our shop stewards in the Bon Secours Health System, it has been agreed to ballot for both industrial and strike action across five hospital locations in Dublin, Limerick, Galway, Cork and Kerry.”

“Despite repeated requests, the Bon Secours management has refused to engage with SIPTU representatives on the implementation of a job evaluation scheme. The Bon Secours Health System and SIPTU have a long standing agreement linking the pay and working conditions of our Bon Secours members to those of workers in the HSE. The actions of management in recent weeks have threatened this link and our members won’t stand for it. Our members believe that pay movements arising from the implementation of the job evaluation scheme in the HSE should also be applied to support grade workers in the Bon Secours Health System.”

She added: “The ballot of members, to protect this vital link between the HSE and the Bon Secours Health System, will take place in the coming weeks. Management must accept that support grade workers, including health care assistants, porters, catering attendants and cleaners are essential to the running of every hospital and deserve to feel valued and respected. SIPTU representatives remain available to meet with management and we again call on them to engage with us in advance of our ballot in an attempt to find a resolution to this dispute.”