SIPTU representatives have written to the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, today (Wednesday, 15th March), seeking action by him to address the disparity in payments to public healthcare workers who are victims of serious physical assault in the workplace.
SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Kevin Figgis, said: “SIPTU representatives highlighted the disparity in payments to healthcare workers who are victims of serious physical assault at a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health in February.
“We highlighted the fact that under the HSE Serious Physical Assault Scheme, healthcare support workers are only eligible to receive payments for three months while other grades may receive payments for up to a year, even if they are assaulted in the same incident. SIPTU representatives also provided statistical data that demonstrates that support workers suffer the second highest level of assaults in healthcare workplaces, after nursing staff.
“Our union had to seek the intervention of the Minister for Health on this matter. This follows our lodging of a claim to have equality for support workers under the HSE Serious Physical Assault Scheme in late 2021. While the HSE noted the merits of the claim, we were advised that it would need the sanction of the Department of Health to address our concerns. The matter has remained with the Department of Health since then with no sign of resolution or progress. As such, we have decided to call for action directly from the Minister for Health.”
He added: “There is no justification for support workers being treated any less favourably than their healthcare colleagues when they are dealing with the fallout of an assault in their workplace. We expect the Minister to now take action to resolve this completely unacceptable situation.”