SIPTU Health Weekly Members Update
Next Tuesday, (6th, July) a claim on behalf of all health workers is due before the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC)
SIPTU Health Division representatives welcome the intervention from the WRC in an effort to resolve this impasse. It is on record that the Health Service Staff Panel of Unions lodged a claim last December with the health service employers seeking recognition for the trojan efforts of all health care workers throughout this one in a lifetime pandemic.
For months, union representatives have continued to push for a satisfactory outcome with some success. However, our efforts have stalled in recent weeks and there is a growing frustration among our members over the delay in having this claim heard and addressed.
A special members update on any progress made will issue following the outcome of the WRC process.
Job Evaluation resumes
The National Support Staff Job Evaluation Monitoring Committee received confirmation this week that evaluators have recommenced the completion of the remaining evaluations under phase 4 of the scheme.
Evaluations were put on hold as a result of the cyber attack.
Cyber attack update
SIPTU representatives were advised this week following the recent cyber attack that access to email, online payslips and online servers is progressing.
Payroll continues to run as normal. HSE has assured SIPTU representatives that every effort has gone into capturing and processing all premiums, overtime and additional items. Any issues if applicable will be rectified in the coming weeks.
The HSE have reminded all staff to continue to exercise extreme caution when accessing and opening HSE emails as the IT system continues to come back on stream.
If you have any queries about your pay, contact your time returning officer or local payroll team.
Payroll contact details are available here.
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SIPTU members: Vaccination update
SIPTU Health representatives attended a meeting with national vaccination team today (Wednesday, 30th June). The following update was received.
Updated NIAC advice received by HSE
- Astra Zeneca and Janssen may now be offered to anyone left to receive any vaccine – previously only offered to over 50s.
- HSE working on updated advice to put plans in place. The remaining categories will be offered the option of availing of one of the above vaccines if it means they will get access to a vaccination sooner instead of having to wait for a MRNA vaccine. Predominately, this will mean all remaining categories from 34 years and under will be given the option of the above vaccines or wait longer for a MRNA vaccine.
- HSE looking at updating registration process for this cohort with revised questionnaires on registration form, updating the consent form and more information on the available vaccines offered.Updated advice – Astra Zeneca dose intervals back to 4 weeks.
- HSE were trying to complete all outstanding seconddoses by week commencing 19th July.
- Under revised criteria they are working towards completion of all outstanding 2nd doses by end of next week where possible – Some healthcare workers still to receive 2nd dose will be included in this group.
- HSE COO has written to each CEO in the hospital groups to ensure all staff encompassed by this are afforded access to their 2nd vaccine dose in line with the updated interval between doses.
- HSE still operating on 340k appointments a week at present based on available vaccines.
- HSE envisage spare appointment capacity from week commencing 12th July based on current available MRNA (Pfizer / Moderna) stock of 150k /180k per week. The remainder of appointments can be made up in registrations for Astra Zeneca / Janssen based on uptake in remaining categories.
- HSE continuing to roll out 2nd dose MRNA (Pfizer / Moderna) vaccines in the 4 week timeframe.
- General Practitioners continuing to roll out to the cohorts assigned to them.
- Pharmacists continuing to roll out Janssen vaccine to over 50s
- 200K Janssen vaccines due between now and end of July (inclusive of existing stock in system, pharmacies, storage etc).
- HSE advised that the Helix vaccination centre will transfer to the Convention Centre in Santry which can provide a better layout.
- Meath 2nd vaccination centre up in running in Fairyhouse, with an ongoing increase in the number of available booths as staffing levels improve there.
- CHO 1 and CHO 8 continuing to actively recruit vaccinators. All other areas reduced to recruitment of replacement or specific posts as they arise.
- The Union’s and the HSE agreed to meet again next Wednesday (6th July) for a further update.
SIPTU says pandemic has proven need for well-funded and dynamic public services
SIPTU has called for people to reflect on the need for well-funded and dynamic public services which has been starkly illustrated by their response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
SIPTU Deputy General Secretary for the Public Service, John King, said: “Today, (Wednesday, 23rd June) is United Nations International Public Services Day. It is an opportunity to acknowledge and reflect on the importance of public services to individuals and society. Public services make a crucial contribution to sustainable economic growth.
“Rather than being a cost, public services are drivers of productivity. They are key to promoting equality and social solidarity. They boost living standards and underpin how communities and states are built.
“In SIPTU, and the wider trade union movement, we are committed to creating public services that will provide the basis of economic growth and a good society. Through the ‘More Power to You’ initiative, we are campaigning, alongside colleague trade unions, for a greater role for local authorities in the delivery of public services in order to enhance their accessibility and accountability as well as bringing their control closer to communities.
“In the crucial area of childcare, the Big Start campaign has made giant strides towards organising a low-paid and often undervalued workforce to demand reforms that will benefit children, working families and society as a whole. Elsewhere, we work to ensure public procurement is both transparent and efficient while pushing for the creation of the patient-centred healthcare system envisaged in Sláintecare.”
He added: “So today, as we slowly emerge from a once-in-a-century crisis which has starkly illustrated the importance of public services, the job of trade unionists is to shape and build a new dynamic economy with a prosperous society underpinned by properly resourced public services. There can be no going back to the days when public services and public service workers have been undervalued and under-resourced. The reality is that public service workers want to leave the legacy of austerity and negativity behind them. They want to work in a well-funded, properly resourced system that delivers the type of the high quality world class services that all our citizens deserve.”
SIPTU members: Vaccination update
SIPTU Health representatives attended a meeting with national vaccination team this afternoon (Wednesday, 9th June)
The following update was received:
- The HSE confirmed their email communication system remains severely disrupted following the recent cyber-attack.
- The HSE stated it is currently finalising the process of reducing the period for dose 2 AstraZeneca from 12 weeks to 8 weeks. This will be developed over the next 3 weeks. Approx. 360k appointments will have to be brought forward as a result of the change in sequencing.
- For next week, the HSE stated its intent to vaccinate 140k Pfizer Dose 2, 100k AstraZeneca Dose 2 & 80k (mainly) Pfizer Dose 1. The HSE expects the next 3 weeks to be particularly busy.
- GP’s are expected to continue vaccinating Cohort 4 & 7 within their practice.
- The HSE advised supply of AstraZeneca is good for this week and next week. A delivery of 130K is expected by week of 21st June.
- For next week, Pfizer reserves will be used (approx. 40k). The HSE advised two large deliveries of Pfizer are due by the end of the month to replenish stocks.
- The HSE confirmed NIAC has been advised of recent HCW concerns re Dose 2 AstraZeneca. Unions were advised updated guidance is expected shortly and will be distributed on receipt.
- Unions and the HSE agreed to meet again next Wednesday for a further update.
Have your say. IARC elections
SIPTU Ambulance Sector members are in the process of electing Irish Ambulance Represent Council (IARC) representatives in the following areas:
- North East
- South East
- North West
SIPTU will write to members in these areas informing them of the candidates and the closing date for returning their ballot papers from Wednesday 8th June.
We are encouraging all members in these areas need to ensure their home address is up to date with SIPTU so they can receive their postal ballot. Due to Covid-19 ballots will be conducted by postal ballot.
Members can update their details online here
SIPTU members update – Vaccination Rollout
SIPTU Health representatives attended a meeting with national vaccination team this afternoon (Wednesday, 2nd June)
The following update was received:
- HSE representatives advised the challenges from the recent cyber-attack remain and that inter-department communication within the health service remains a challenge. SIPTU representatives were advised it may take some time for systems to be returned to pre-attack norms.
- Unions raised recent concerns regarding the vaccination of health care workers (HCWs) given the plan to proceed with 2nd dose of AstraZeneca.
- Union representatives were advised the current guidance from NIAC has not changed and HCWs are recommended to take their 2nd dose of AstraZeneca vaccine when called. It was confirmed the recent concerns raised are with NIAC for review and response. The HSE confirmed every effort will be made to assure HCWs on the safety of taking the vaccine being offered to them.
- Union representatives were advised the immediate focus is to complete the second dose vaccination of HCWs over the coming days and weekend.
- Concerns were raised if all vaccination centres have been advised of the reduction in the dose period from 16-12 weeks. The HSE confirmed this clarification will be advised to all sites.
- Unions raised the issue of new employees registering for vaccination given the ‘special email addresses’ set out by each area are compromised by the cyber-attack. The HSE confirmed it is looking at alternatives and will confirm when finalised.
- Unions were advised the centres are completing the over 50’s currently and then start the 49-45 category. 44-40 are allowed to register on the portal from this week.
- Unions asked for clarification when the recent decision of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), for children aged 15-12 to be vaccinated with Pfizer, will be implemented in Ireland and if this will require a reshuffle of Cohorts 4 & 7 (Medical vulnerable) to accommodate children comprehended by this definition. The HSE advised it is seeking guidance on the matter and will revert on this matter
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SIPTU members update: HSE pay
SIPTU Health representatives attended a meeting with national Health Service Executive (HSE) officials this afternoon (Tuesday, 25th May) regarding HSE Pay.
The following update was received:
- HSE representatives advised union representatives that normal payroll will proceed in the main for this week, including the payment of pensions.
- SIPTU representatives were advised that significant work was undertaken to achieve this as full data entry/input was required as existing files were not accessible due to the recent attack.
- We understand some isolated issues may arise and, if so, staff members should raise these issues locally in the first instance.
- Union representatives were advised a separate system applies in Portiuncula Hospital and a previous bank file is being used for the purpose of paying staff in the week ahead.
- We understand challenges relating to payroll may continue for the next number of weeks given the need to manually input data into the central pay system.
- The HSE and Union representatives have agreed to maintain a weekly briefing to confirm arrangements for pay which will apply for the next pay period.
- SIPTU representatives were informed deductions are being made from pay, however, the payment of these deductions to third parties, such as insurance providers or credit unions, is not possible due to the shutting down of the IT system.
- We understand that third parties are being informed deductions are being made from payroll as normal and will be passed on as soon as the IT system is reopened.
- We were advised that the HSE is in direct contact with Revenue as they are not able to upload payments deducted for the purpose of income tax until the IT system reopens.
- Union representatives requested an update regarding the payment of Mileage & Subsistence. We were informed a standardised system for these payments is not in place and there may be issues in some areas, while not in others. We requested an update and this was committed to by the HSE.
Unions again sought clarification of the extent of personal information of staff, held by the HSE as the employer, which may have been compromised by the cyber-attack. This includes whether personal financial information of staff held by the HSE has been breached by the attack. The HSE stated they had not received confirmation that personal staff information had been breached and committed to seeking clarification on this matter. The HSE stated they would seek clarification of the extent, if any, staff personal information was breached by the recent attack and would revert to the unions as soon as possible.
SIPTU welcomes extension of vaccinator role to radiographers and radiation therapists
SIPTU representatives have today (Monday, 24th May) welcomed confirmation from the Department of Health that radiographers, radiation therapists and other certain student health workers can apply to be vaccinators as part of the National Covid-19 vaccination programme.
SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Kevin Figgis, said: “For months, intensive efforts were made by SIPTU representatives to ensure our members who are qualified were afforded the opportunity to participate in the Covid-19 vaccination programme. The original statutory instrument provided for nursing, medical practitioners and some other health professionals to apply to be vaccinators. Our members then campaigned for the inclusion of radiographers, radiation therapists and certain student grades to be included in any revised statutory instrument.”
He added: “Our members argued that widening the eligibility of vaccinators, especially as more vaccines become available, is crucial for getting the country back up and running. We believe that the more vaccinators that can be trained up and put to work the quicker our health service and our society can regroup and recover.”
Important update: HSE pay
SIPTU Health representatives attended a meeting with national Health Service Executive (HSE) officials this afternoon (Wednesday, 19th May) regarding HSE Pay.
The following update was received:
- The HSE confirmed staff will be paid on their normal pay day this week.
- The HSE is making final arrangements to pay staff this week for hours worked. This includes basic salary, premiums and overtime. SIPTU representatives understand most SAP areas have concluded this work and the final areas are due in shortly.
- Unions were advised payroll has worked throughout the night to replicate the pay run so that staff can be paid as normal this week.
- The HSE advised challenges are arising for next week and options are being considered to address this. This includes options such as 1) as per arrangements for this week, i.e. pay staff for hours worked or 2) replicate the last pay run which may result in some variance for premiums or overtime. The HSE committed to a further meeting early next week to update on the arrangements for pay which will apply for week beginning 24th May.
- If there are discrepancies in pay received, members are advised to contact their local salary office in the first instance.
- Normal deductions will be taken from pay such as pension, income tax etc
- Pay will be paid as per normal means i.e. into bank directly or by cheque if that is the pre-existing arrangement.
- Delivery of payslips is still being considered and to be clarified.
- New Staff: HSE committed to getting new staff set up on system and paid as normal.
- Section 38 Organisations: Unions were advised some Section 38 Organisations will have their own pay roll and will not be affected. Some Section 38 Organisations may use the Health Service Executive system and will therefore be encompassed by this update.
SIPTU representatives sought clarification of the extent of personal information of staff held by the HSE, as the employer, which may be compromised by the cyber-attack. This includes whether personal financial information of staff held by the HSE has been breached by the attack.
The HSE committed to seeking clarification on this matter and reverting to the unions as soon as possible.