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

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 400 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.”

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SIPTU defers ballot for strike action in National Ambulance Service

SIPTU has today (Friday, 13th May) deferred a ballot of its members in the National Ambulance Service (NAS) for strike action, on the specific issue of the failure of the HSE to publish a capacity review into the service, until after the Government meets next Tuesday, 17th May. 

The deferral follows the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, formally contacting the union to inform it that he intends to bring the capacity review of the National Ambulance Service to the cabinet for approval.  

SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell said: “After consulting our members and the representatives of the Irish Ambulance Representative Council we have agreed to pause the national ballot in light of the decision of the Minister to bring the capacity review to his colleagues in cabinet with a view to securing an agreement for its publication. An emergency meeting of the SIPTU Ambulance Sector Committee will be convened after the cabinet meeting next Tuesday to discuss the following steps in the campaign.” 

Chairman of the Irish Ambulance Representative Council, Peter Ray, said: “I welcome this news with caution. SIPTU Ambulance Professionals have been waiting a very long time for the publication of this capacity review after playing an active and constructive role in its development. We will continue our fight for the world class ambulance service that citizens deserve. We hope that the new Government seize this opportunity to make a long term commitment to the funding of a publicly owned and well resourced National Ambulance Service.”

SIPTU Ambulance Professionals to ballot for strike action due to failure to publish Capacity Review

SIPTU members working in the HSE National Ambulance Service are to ballot for strike action due to the continuing refusal of the caretaker Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar to publish a National Capacity Review of the service.

Addressing the Annual General Meeting of the SIPTU Ambulance Sector in Liberty Hall, Dublin, today (Thursday, 31st March), SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell said: “Our members have been waiting months for the Minister to live up to his commitment to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health in February 2014 that he would publish this review in speedy manner.

“The Minister’s refusal to do this leaves our members with no option but to ballot for strike action as the publication of this report into the operational capacity of the ambulance service is in the interest of both workers and the public.  

“The first step the Minister for Health can take to avoid this action is to immediately publish the Capacity Review. The second step is to engage meaningfully with all stakeholders and representatives of ambulance professionals to agree on a way forward that ensures we have a fully funded and operational national ambulance service that is fit for purpose.”

Chairman of Irish Ambulance Representative Council, Peter Ray, said: “The publication of the Capacity Review is absolutely vital, not withstanding all the challenges that it will present, so that steps can be taken to ensure the delivery of a world class publicly provided and funded national ambulance service.

“In addition, we are calling for the implementation of a comprehensive intermediate care service plan across the 26 counties that will free up vital frontline emergency ambulance vehicles and personnel.”

Arrangements are being put in place to commence the balloting of SIPTU members in all grades of the ambulance service with the vote scheduled to be concluded by the end of April.

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Posted by SIPTU on Thursday, March 31, 2016

Investment in ambulance service critical to delivery of primary care

SIPTU has called on the Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, to immediately release the capacity review into the National Ambulance Service.

Speaking today at the Labour Party Conference in Killarney, SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “The creation of 50 paramedic positions in the West of Ireland is a step in the right direction.

“However, what is required is the publication of the capacity review of the National Ambulance Service.

“Our members are deeply concerned about the direction of the ambulance service and demanded a capacity review in February 2014. One year later we are still waiting.”

Paul Bell added: “If the National Ambulance Service is to function at the level that the HIQA is demanding, and the public and communities deserve, then the Government needs to seriously invest in recruitment and resources.

“The time has come for the Government to provide leadership and the public with confidence that the National Ambulance Service is safe, fully resourced and fit for purpose”