SIPTU calls for employment of more Health Care Assistants to alleviate hospital crisis

SIPTU has called for an increase in the number of Health Care Assistants to help alleviate the worsening staff shortages and overcrowding crises in hospitals across the country.

SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “SIPTU has repeatedly called for the immediate deployment of Health Care Assistants to alleviate the pressure on nursing staff in hospitals. We have also called for the introduction of Theatre Assistants to assist hospital surgeons with routine surgical procedures. These measures could have a very positive impact on hospital waiting times and patient care.

“To this end, SIPTU has requested that the HSE create 800 new Health Care Assistant positions. Such a move would reduce the staff to patient ratio in our hospitals and the exorbitant costs of hiring temporary agency staff, which is running in excess of €27 million for this year alone.”

He added: “It seemed as if progress had been made on this issue in recent weeks with both the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Department of Health expressing a desire to alleviate the staff shortage crisis by seeking a ‘skill mix solution’. This would result in an increased number of Health Care Assistants to support other grades of health staff. A SIPTU delegation also attended a HSE briefing on the introduction of Theatre Assistants, a new grade of health worker, earlier this year.

“However, our members are amazed that health service management has yet to engage with the union representing these vital health workers on either of these issues. The Minister for Health, Leo Vardakar, and HSE officials need to immediately commence a dialogue on increasing the number and roles of Health Care Assistants with the union which represents these workers. Our members have a clear message and that is stop talking about us and start talking to us”. Bell concluded.

SIPTU calls for increase in Home Help services at Dáil hospital crisis protest

SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell, told over 100 health workers protesting outside Leinster House this afternoon (Wednesday, 14th January) that an immediate increase in Home Help services is critical to solving the overcrowding crisis in our hospitals.

Addressing the protest, organised by unions calling for government action to end the overcrowding crisis in hospital emergency departments, Paul Bell, said: “A lack of available hospital beds is a crucial factor in this worsening crisis. However, there are currently 800 patients waiting to be discharged from hospitals across the State.

“While many of these patients will need nursing home care, many more can and should be enabled to return to their own homes where they can be supported through HSE Home Help services. We have thousands of SIPTU members working as Home Helps who are ready, willing and able to provide the necessary supports to facilitate such a process.”

He added: “The crisis in our hospitals is integrally linked to the running down of health services within our communities. Nearly three million hours have been cut from Home Help services since 2008, with cutbacks only coming to a halt after a concerted campaign by our union.

Watch video of protest here

SIPTU calls on health workers to join Dáil demonstration

SIPTU has called on all health workers to attend an emergency demonstration outside Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin, on Wednesday, 14th January at 12.00 p.m.

SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “In response to the ongoing overcrowding crisis in hospital accident and emergency departments throughout the country SIPTU Health Division members are being asked to attend this demonstration with their colleagues in the other health service unions”.

He added: “The demonstration will highlight health service workers deep concerns about the safety and care of their patients, as well as the unacceptable working conditions being experienced by staff. This protest is taking place on the first sitting day of the Dáil in 2015. We believe it is the duty of health workers to make politicians aware of their anger at the treatment of the hundreds of patients lying on trolleys in accident and emergency departments across the country”.

SIPTU Health workers are requested to assembly at Liberty Hall, Dublin 1, on Wednesday 14th January, at 11.15 a.m. and walk to the demonstration at the entrance of Leinster House, Kildare Street. The demonstration will commence at 12.00 p.m. and finish at 2.00 p.m.