SIPTU representatives will raise the disparity in supports for assaulted health sector staff at a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health, tomorrow (Wednesday, 8th February). The Committee is meeting to discuss the safety and welfare of workers in the public health service.
SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Kevin Figgis, said: “Our union welcomes the opportunity to address the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health so we can highlight some of the concerns of our members regarding their safety and welfare at work. We also want to use the opportunity to present some tangible solutions in this area.
“A key concern for our members is the disparity in financial supports available to healthcare workers based on their role within the public health service. Figures provided by the HSE demonstrate that all healthcare workers face a real threat of physical assault in the workplace. They also show that support staff, which includes healthcare assistants, porters, catering, cleaning and security staff, are the second biggest category impacted by serious physical assaults in the workplace after nurses.
“However, support staff only receive 25% of the financial supports afforded to allied health professionals, clerical officers and nursing staff, even if they are all assaulted in the same incident.
“No worker should have to face the threat of assault in the workplace. If an unfortunate incident does occur, it must be ensured that all policies designed to support workers should be based on equality of access and not grade.”
He added: “SIPTU will also raise the need to give financial assistance to healthcare workers who are diagnosed with Covid-19 or affected by Long Covid. While there was such a scheme in place for public service healthcare workers, it was withdrawn in July 2022.
“A temporary scheme is in place, but we have been advised that this will cease in July 2023. This is despite the fact that the EU Advisory Committee for Safety and Health at Work has confirmed the need to recognise Covid-19 as an occupational disease.”
“In addition, SIPTU representatives will raise the need for safe staffing levels, based on need, across all departments and concerns our members have expressed in relation to the HSE Dignity at Work policy.”