27/07/2021 Comments are off SIPTU Health

Industrial Action Update: Area Director of Nursing in Mental Health

SIPTU representatives have confirmed that members within the grade of Area Director of Nursing in Mental Health will undertake industrial action as and from 08:00hrs Wednesday, 28th July 2021.

SIPTU Nursing Sector Organiser, John McCamley said: “The industrial action is being taken given the failure of the HSE to implement the outcome of an independent grading review of the Area Director of Nursing position as committed to, by the employer. It has not been possible to resolve this dispute and notice has been served on the employer to confirm industrial action will take place as and from 08:00hrs on the 28th July. SIPTU representatives have confirmed we are available to prioritise engagement with the HSE and Department of Health to resolve the dispute between parties.”

It is requested you bring this update to the attention of all SIPTU members and request no action is taken by any member of our union which would be deemed to undermine the action being taken by our members employed as Area Directors of Nursing.

Any queries can be directed to the local Area Director of Nursing, SIPTU local representative or SIPTU Health Official.

List of industrial actions.

  • Area DONs will not answer phone calls except those from nursing staff who report to Area Directors of Nursing.
  • Area DONs will only reply to emails sent by nurses who report to Area Directors of Nursing
  • Area DONs will no longer provide any governance for CAMHS community services as this was part of the extended role for Area Directors of Nursing
  • Area DONs will no longer provide any governance for MHID CMHTs as this was part of the extended role for Area Directors of Nursing
  • Area DONs will no longer provide any governance for Liaison Teams as this was part of the extended role for Area Directors of Nursing
  • Area DONs will disengage from all Executive CHO structures
  • Area DONs will disengage from 7/7 Day Service implementation of services.
  • Area DONs will disengage from Workforce Planning/HR processes /Business case completion etc.
  • Area DONs will disengage from National and Local Service Development and Working groups e.g.: SRF/Connecting for Life
  • Area DONs will disengage from Health and Safety CHO governance meeting participation
  • Area DONs will withdraw from any group/meeting that is not solely nursing related
  • Area DONs will withdraw from all Area Management Team functions.
  • Area DONs will not approve the release of staff to participate in non-mandatory training.
  • Area DONs will not engage with Slaintecare
  • Area DONs will not participate with roll out of E-rostering
  • Area DONs will not participate with integrated risk management framework.
  • Area DONs will not engage with capital and any service developments
  • Area DONs will not participate in interview boards.
  • Area DONs will not furnish any reports to disciplines or manager grades outside of nursing.
  • Area DONs will not participate in MHC monthly walk arounds with ECD and GM
  • MHS Compliance and all audits conducted by nursing will be reported to the Area DON in line with reporting relationships.
  • No nominations by Area DON of nursing staff to any interview boards
  • Non approval of release of nursing staff to attend non-nursing meetings (CMHT-Clinical/Service Users meeting exempt)
  • IPC reports conducted by nursing will be reported to the Area DON who will manage these reports.
  • Audits conducted by nursing staff will be directed to the Area Director of Nursing Office for processing, including National Clinical Programmes, ligature audits
  • Area DONs will not process any third party organisation invoices.
  • LIG Meetings – not attending
  • JRG Meetings – not attending
  • Area DON’s will no longer be responding to formal complaints received from Senior Management/HSE Structures or engaging in the process
  • Area DON’s will no longer be responding to Freedom of Information requests or the review of material with a view to redaction prior to the release of responses to FOI requests
  • Area DON’s will no longer be responding to or participating in the development of any corporate responses to Parliamentary questions
  • Area DON’s will not engage with external employment agency organisations and will only manage line management staff resources that are direct HSE employees.
  • Area DONs will not take any governance responsibility for CAMHS / MHID community structures and will re-deploy staff as required from community CAMHS, MHID teams and other service areas to support core nursing services and ensure safe working practices.
  • Area DONs will only release nursing staff trainers in line with HR Circular 043/2020




23/07/2021 Comments are off SIPTU Health

SIPTU members in St Brigid’s to ballot for strike action

SIPTU members working as assistants and care workers in St Brigid’s Mental Health Intellectual Disability services in Ballinasloe, county Galway, are to ballot for strike action next week.

SIPTU Organiser, Liz Cloherty, said: “SIPTU representatives have been engaged with HSE Galway/Roscommon Mental Health Services on the reconfiguration to a social model of care of the mental health and intellectual disability services in Ballinasloe. Following actions by HSE senior management to outsource the work of our members, contrary to public service agreements, coupled with the fact that management has dismissed previous Labour Court recommendations, our members have been left with no option but to ballot for strike action.”

SIPTU member in St Brigid’s, Siobhan Turley, said: “We feel that management has not listened to us. It seems our views have absolutely nothing to do with patient care. We have looked after these people for years, on the frontline, and have the experience to continue providing the best care and service possible. It’s very disheartening to think that management can overlook us and outsource our essential work without any consultation.”

19/07/2021 Comments are off SIPTU Health

Risk Assessment for COVID- 19 Vaccination for HCW

SIPTU representatives received the following update from the HSE on Risk Assessment for COVID- 19 Vaccination for HCW.

Click here for read letter to Unions and management from Chief Clinical Officer of the HSE, Colm Henry

Click here for latest draft guidelines.

We understand these documents will be circulated to staff on Tuesday 20th July.

More information will be available in our SIPTU Health Industrial Newsletter this Wednesday, 21st July.

If you have any questions or queries please email ask@siptuhealth.ie

06/07/2021 Comments are off AideenC

Healthcare workers “deeply offended” by lack of employer recognition for COVID work.

Healthcare workers are “deeply offended” by a lack of proposal from the HSE to recognise their efforts in the fight against COVID.

Health sector unions met with the employers at the Workplace Relations Commission today, where the HSE said that they had no mandate to make an offer.

Unions had sought some form of special recognition for the staff, dating back to late 2020. Both the Taoiseach and Tánaiste have indicated that they would support some recognition, but no offer has yet been presented.

Health service employers in France, Northern Ireland, Denmark and elsewhere have offered staff bonuses or pay increases in recognition of their work and sacrifices over the past year.

Tony Fitzpatrick, chair of the National joint Council of Health Sector trade unions (SIPTU, INMO, Fórsa IMO, MLSA Unite, Connect, and Craft unions)


“Healthcare workers have given their all in the fight against COVID. They have adapted rapidly, worked far beyond their normal duties, and thousands have caught the virus in the line of duty.

“Our members are deeply insulted that the government are still not making any proposals to recognise their efforts. We are now facing into a fourth wave of COVID, with no sign of meaningful recognition in respect of the ongoing efforts made by healthcare workers since the onset of the pandemic. 

“After all the hard work and extreme risk, it beggar’s belief that the HSE has once again come to the table empty handed.”

The Workplace Relations Commission will reconvene a meeting with the unions and the employer on this issue on the 5th of August 2021.

02/07/2021 Comments are off AideenC

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.

To subscribe to SIPTU Health Weekly Updates please click here

30/06/2021 Comments are off AideenC

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.
24/06/2021 Comments are off AideenC

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.”

23/06/2021 Comments are off SIPTU Health

Solidarity with Whistleblowers

Whistleblowing is about protecting #HumanRights On #WorldWhistleblowersDay we would like to express our thanks and solidarity to all whistleblowers for their courage in standing up to challenge injustices.

The OECD have said that Ireland’s Protected Disclosures Act 2014 provides the strongest protections in Europe for whistleblowers in the workplace. 

The Republic was long overdue proper legislation in this area, but the events surrounding the treatment of Sgt Maurice McCabe and other whistleblowers was the impetus that drove Brendan Howlin to introduce the Protected Disclosures Act in 2014.

The Act gives protection for workers who are threatened with or suffer detriment at the hands of, their employers for “whistleblowing” in accordance with the provisions of the legislation.

This brief FAQ gives a broad overview of the fundamental provisions but should not be relied upon as a legal guide as there are extensive and complex provisions within the Act.

As with all employment legislation, SIPTU members can seek individual advice and assistance through the Workers’ Rights Centre (1890-747881).

How is a worker defined for the purposes of the Act? 

The definition is the widest so far in employment legislation and there are four main groups that come under the legislation:

  • Employees
  • Contractors
  • Agency Workers
  • People gaining work experience.

Importantly, the 12-month service requirement under the Unfair Dismissals Acts will not apply and therefore protection will be from day one of employment.

What type of matters would fall under protected disclosures? 

  • The commission of a criminal offence
  • Failure to comply with a legal obligation
  • Miscarriages of justice
  • Threat to health and safety
  • Damage to the environment
  • Misuse of public funds
  • Public mismanagement/maladministration

What is the process for making the disclosure?

In order to enjoy the protections under the Act, the worker must have a reasonable belief in the allegations made and he/she must go through the prescribed channels, which means a worker may communicate his/her disclosure to:

  • An employer (an internal disclosure).
  • A legal advisor in the course of obtaining legal advice (a legal advisor includes a barrister, solicitor or trade union official for the purposes of this legislation)
  • Externally to a regulatory body (these will be set out shortly)
  • Externally to a Government Minister (in the case of a worker in a State body)
  • Externally to others (e.g. media or a member of the house of the Oireachtas).

Note: Stronger qualifying criteria must be met for external disclosure.

The disclosure must not be for personal gain, there must be a reasonable belief that victimisation will ensue and the worker reasonably believed that the employer would either conceal or destroy the evidence or in the alternative, the matter was raised with the employer and no action was taken.

What protections are there for the worker? 

If it is a protected disclosure the employer cannot penalise or threaten to penalise an employee and there is immunity from civil liability i.e. the whistleblower cannot be sued for defamation if the subject matter qualifies as a protected disclosure. The protections in the legislation will not apply to false disclosures deliberately made.

If a contravention of the prohibition on penalisation is alleged then the employee can bring his/her claim to a Rights Commissioner, the Labour Court or the Circuit Court (see below).

What are the specific protections relating to Unfair Dismissals? 

Significantly, and for the first time in Irish employment law, an employee can apply to the Circuit Court for a statutory injunction within 21 days of the dismissal, seeking reinstatement/re-engagement, as determined by the court in accordance with the specific provisions laid down in the Act.

Trade unions at the time lobbied strongly for this form of interim relief.

The cap of two years’ salary as compensation under the Unfair Dismissals Acts is increased to a maximum of five years and the protections for the employee are put in place from day one of the employment, i.e. there is no minimum service requirement.

10/06/2021 Comments are off AideenC

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.
04/06/2021 Comments are off AideenC

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: 

  • Midlands
  • 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