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Posted by SIPTU on Thursday, March 31, 2016


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SIPTU urges HSE to engage on the findings of the National Ambulance Service Capacity Review

Date Released: 17 May 2016

SIPTU has today (Tuesday, 17th May) welcomed the decision of the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, to publish the National Ambulance Service capacity review and urged the Health Service Executive (HSE) to immediately engage with the union on its findings.

Speaking after an emergency meeting of SIPTU National Ambulance Sector Committee, Divisional Organiser, Paul Bell said: “Our members have mandated us to open direct conversations with the HSE on how best to implement the findings of the capacity review. The implementation of the capacity review will require a strong commitment from the Minister to ensure the appropriate funding is made available for the training and recruitment of the 300 ambulance personal identified in the review. This is essential if we are to have a publicly funded National Ambulance Service which the general public can trust and that citizens deserve.”

Chairman of the Irish Ambulance Representative Council, Peter Ray, said: “ Our members have long held the view that staffing levels and capital investment were utterly inadequate. This report vindicates our members’ position and the struggle we have been involved in over the last number of years. We feel with the publication of the review we have the tools to make real progress towards a building a world class service. We look forward to the challenges ahead and to genuine engagement with the HSE to develop a publicly funded service that’s fit for purpose. It is now vitally important that all stakeholders involved in the ambulance services deliver on what is a transformative and pivotal report.”


SIPTU members in ambulance emergency control centre vote for industrial action

SIPTU members working in National Ambulance Service (NAS) emergency control centre in Tallaght, Dublin 24, have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action in a dispute concerning staffing levels, the filling of vacancies and retention of staff.  

SIPTU Organiser, John McCamley, said: “This dispute results from a refusal of the management of the emergency control centre to implement Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) proposals to deal with issues relating to staffing levels, the filling of vacancies and the retention of staff.  

“Over the last year, SIPTU members have repeatedly highlighted the crisis regarding the retention of emergency call takers within the service. These highly trained and skilled staff who are responsible for taking emergency calls from the public and classifying their level of urgency have a starting rate of pay of just over €21,500 per year. This level of pay coupled with the stressful nature of the job has led to a high turnover of staff.

“The WRC proposals seek to deal with this issue as well as the filling of vacant permanent dispatcher posts. These members manage the allocation of resources to emergency calls.”

He added: “SIPTU members are calling on management to fulfill its obligations under the WRC proposals. If these staffing issues are not addressed as a matter of urgency there is a serious risk to the effective operation of the emergency control centre.

“The present system of recruiting staff is not fit for purpose. The HSE national recruitment service should hand over responsibility for recruitment for this emergency operations centre to the NAS. The HSE should also review the grading structure of emergency call takers in a bid to retain these essential staff within the control centre.”

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