10/03/2020 Comments are off SIPTU Health

Advice for health staff

All of us in SIPTU and across the nation are hugely grateful to the large number of health and welfare staff, of all grades, whose job means they are – or could be – in contact with people who have the coronavirus.

We appreciate that this puts you at higher risk than most, and we value and admire the exceptional contribution you’re making in this crisis.

The HSE has issued various guidelines for workers in this situation, including this on healthcare worker management by occupational health.’

It says staff should not be rostered to work with coronavirus patients if they don’t have appropriately-fitting personal protective equipment (PPE). And they should be trained in the proper use of PPE.

It also says pregnant staff, and those with a medical vulnerability, should not be rostered to work with coronavirus patients if they have indicated a desire to be redeployed.

The guidance identifies some basic steps required to prevent the transmission of the virus in healthcare settings.

These include instruction and training about the virus, modes of transmission and the measures staff should take to protect themselves.

It also says employers should provide a safe work environment including through the provision of appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE). It identifies the need for training and staff competency in coronavirus-related infection control practices and procedures, including the proper use and disposal of PPE.

It says managers are responsible for:

  • Providing adequate resources for the prevention and management of coronavirus
  • Advising staff about the terms and conditions of sick leave and special leave with pay
  • Identifying staff in contact with confirmed cases of Covid-19 and referring any possible close contacts to Occupational Health for contact tracing
  • Maintaining and providing access to contact packs within the clinical and hospital settings,
  • And redeploying pregnant or immunocompromised staff from direct contact with confirmed or suspected cases of Covid-19 if the person has requested this.

It says staff must:

  • Follow the guidance provided by Occupational Health, Public Health and their manager.
  • Immediately act to self-isolate if they have been identified as a contact and become unwell at work, and inform their manager and Occupational Health so that appropriate testing can be arranged.

The guidance also covers a range of other issues including the management of exposure in the workplace, the management of contacts and close contacts, self-quarantine, the role of Occupational Health, and health workers returning from abroad.

The HSE has also published professional guidance for healthcare professionals.

08/03/2020 Comments are off SIPTU Health

HSE Circulars 2020

A total of 19 Circulars have issued since 6th April 2020 – 7 relate to COVID-19.

HR Circular 024 2020 COVID-19 – Employment Permits System Contingency Arrangements

HR Circular 025 2020 Correction to Rates of Pay for Health Care Assistant and Theatre Porter/Attendant

HR Circular 026 2020 – Revision to Redeployment Policy during COVID-19

HR Circular 027 2020 Updated FAQs re working arrangements and leave associated with COVID-19

HR Circular 028 2020 New Temporary Grades Codes Final Year Academic Nurse/Midwife Students in Response to COVID-19

HR Circular 029 2020 Revised arrangements for Change in Contract requests during the COVID-19 Outbreak

HR Circular 030 2020 Changes to Employment Permits for NCHDs

HR Circular 031 2020 Revised Redeployment Policy

HR Circular 032 2020 COVID-19 Transmission Risk Mitigation Guidance

HR Circular 033 2020 Working arrangements for those with caring arrangements during COVID-19

HR Circular 034 2020 Guidance and FAQs for Public Service Employers during COVID-19 in relation to working arrangements and temporary assignments across the Public Service

HR Circular 035 2020 Pilot Pre-Retirement Initiative for Nurses Midwives during COVID-19

HR Circular 036 2020 HIPE at Hospital Departments

HR Circular 037 2020 Student Radiographers

HR Circular 038 2020 COVID-19 new absence codes and change on absence reporting

HR Circular 039 2020 Change to Sleepover hourly rate due to an increase in National Minimum Wage

HR Circular 040 2020 Sponsorship for Public Health Service Employees wishing to train as Nurses/Midwives

HR Circular 041 2020 Implementation of additional roles within the general support staff grades

HR Circular 042 2020 Guidance and FAQs for Public Service Employers during COVID-19 in relation to working arrangements and temporary assignments across the Public Service

29/02/2020 Comments are off SIPTU Health

Redeployment during COVID19

All traditional regular and rostered earnings must be considered if a review of rosters is being undertaken due to COVID-19.

This review must take into account all regular earnings including on-call and overtime. The period for review is 6 weeks prior to the 20th March 2020 (date of introduction of the policy) and this can be adjusted if the employee was on sick leave or annual leave in order to get a true value of regular rostered earnings.

This clause below essential to ensure our members are not financially disadvantaged if interim rosters are introduced for the duration of COVID-19.

If you experience any issues please contact your local representative or shop steward.



21/07/2019 Comments are off SIPTUhealth

Have your say on CPD

SIPTU Health Division has launched a questionnaire to enhance the development of a Continuous Professional Development Centre in partnership with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

Click here to take the survey

The survey will take 10 minutes to complete and is completely confidential.

All completed entries are in a draw for One4All vouchers worth €100.


24/06/2019 Comments are off SIPTU Health

WRC talks resume over the implementation of a job evaluation scheme

Today (Monday, 24th June) SIPTU representatives are back in the Workplace Relations Commission to win an agreement on the implementation of a job evaluation scheme and recognition for support staff members.

Download the SIPTU Health App for updates.

Video: Health Care Assistants like Gareth are the backbone of our health service.

19/06/2019 Comments are off SIPTU Health

Health strike deferred to allow for talks tomorrow at WRC

SIPTU representatives have confirmed that a 24 hour workplace stoppage planned for tomorrow has been deferred pending the outcome of emergency talks at the WRC on the implementation of a job evaluation scheme.

SIPTU Health Divisional Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “The strike action scheduled for tomorrow is now deferred at the request of the Workplace Relations Commission. Discussions on implementation of the job evaluation scheme will commence tomorrow (Thursday, 20th June)and Friday (21st June)

He added: “Preparations for strike action for next Tuesday (June 25th) and Wednesday (June 26th)

18/03/2019 Comments are off SIPTU Health

Guidance for health workers dealing with the general public

What is the COVID-19?

A novel (new) virus that has not previously been seen in humans was identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019. COVID-19 is from the same large family of viruses (coronaviruses) that caused the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS).

How is COVID-19 spread?

COVID-19 can spread from person to person, usually after close contact with a person infected with the virus.

The virus can be spread either:

  • directly, through contact with an infected person’s body fluids (e.g. droplets from coughing or sneezing) or
  • indirectly, through contact with surfaces that an infected person has coughed or sneezed on and which are, therefore, contaminated with the virus. It is still not known how long COVID-19 virus survives on surfaces, although current information suggests the virus may survive a few hours. Simple household disinfectants can kill the virus.

    One of the best ways to prevent person to person spread of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19 is to use proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette (outlined below)

    How can I protect myself from getting COVID-19?

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub if your hands are not visibly dirty.
  • Practice good respiratory hygiene i.e. when coughing and sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – discard tissue immediately into a closed bin and clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • Maintain social distancing i.e. leave at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and other people, particularly those who are coughing, sneezing and have a fever.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth – if you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your contaminated hands, you can transfer the virus from the surface to yourself.

    Do I need to wear a facemask to protect me from COVID-19?

    For people working with the general public in the community who are feeling well and do not have respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, fever, shortness of breath), facemasks are not recommended because there is no evidence that using masks in this setting is of any benefit in people who are not sick. In line with the WHO guidance, the HSE is not recommending use of facemasks for people in the community setting who are feeling well and do not have symptoms. The most important action that these people can take to protect themselves from COVID-19 is regular hand-washing and good respiratory hygiene, as outlined above.

    My client/customer has recently travelled to Ireland from a country where there have been cases of COVID-19. Are there any precautions or actions that I need to take?

    Affected areas where COVID-19 is circulating in the community are available on HSE.ie

    If your client/customer has returned from one of these countries and they are feeling well, they should have already visited the HSE website and made contact with the HSE helpline by phone for advice (Callsave: 1850 24 1850 Phone Phone: 041 6850300).

    If they remain well, no specific measures are needed. They will be advised to watch out for any symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following their return. The symptoms of COVID-19 include cough, temperature and, sometimes breathing difficulties (e.g. shortness of breath).

    No specific measures are needed at present for clients/customers who have returned from other countries

    For a client/customer with no symptoms, there is no need for them to stay at home or to isolate themselves (i.e. remain separate from other people). There are no restrictions regarding work or any other activities.

    If they develop any symptoms within 14 days of return from areas with presumed community transmission of COVID-19, the person should isolate themselves (i.e. stay separate from other people), and then contact their GP/doctor straight away by phone for advice, informing the GP/doctor of their recent travel history. This will be explained to them by HSE staff. The GP/doctor will advise on the next steps to take, including organising testing for COVID-19 if necessary.

09/03/2019 Comments are off SIPTU Health

Nursing Contract talks continue

Evening Update:




Talks between unions and health employers on a new nursing contract adjourned last night (Friday, 8th Match) at 10.30pm. Talks will resume later today at 2pm at the Workplace Relations Commission.

No progress has been made on substantive issues. A new version of a draft contract is to be prepared by employers for today.  Updates to follow.


25/01/2019 Comments are off SIPTU Health

Talks adjourn at WRC

Nursing and Midwifery talks at the Workplace Relations Commission have concluded for the evening.

SIPTU Health Representatives have engaged Health Service Executive (HSE) management throughout the afternoon in an effort to advance our members agenda and have advised that we remain available for further engagement at a time agreeable to the parties and the Workplace Relations Commission.

24/01/2019 Comments are off SIPTU Health

WRC talks adjourn. Resume Friday at 2.30pm

WRC talks between SIPTU Nursing representatives and the management of the Health Service Executive and Department of Health, concerning the recruitment and retention of nursing and midwifery professionals have adjourned for the evening (Thursday 24th January)

Talks will resume tomorrow (Friday, 25th January) at 2.30pm.

Updates will be available on the SIPTU Health Division App and website