Update: WRC Mental Health Nursing (Enhanced Nurse Contract Talks)
This is an important update regarding the proposed introduction of the Enhanced Nurse role within Mental Health services and related issues.
SIPTU representatives returned to the Workplace Relations Commission on Thursday, 13th June regarding these matters. The employer was represented by HSE, Dept of Health and Dept of Public Expenditure & Reform officials. Within conciliation, the following issues were discussed:
- Proposed Contract of Employment for Enhanced Nursing within Mental Health Services: this matter has been advanced but is not yet concluded to our satisfaction. Parties are continuing efforts to develop a draft of a contract which is acceptable to all sides.
- Subsidiary issues relating to the proposed introduction of Enhanced Nursing within Mental Health Services: there are a few pay related issues which remain outstanding concerning the proposed introduction of enhanced nursing within mental health services. Further effort is committed to resolving these issues as part of the package of measures to be offered.
- Employer FAQ relating to Proposed Contract of Employment for Enhanced Nursing: employers representatives informed SIPTU they were preparing an explanatory faq document to undermine the specific requirements for those undertaking the proposed enhanced nurse role. We understand this includes specific reference to the required amount of flexibility re location and rostering. SIPTU has demanded sight of this document in advance of any member being requested to consider the proposed contract for enhanced nursing. SIPTU has confirmed to the employer that no nurse or midwife should be asked to consider a contract of employment while the employer is withholding significant documentation such as their explanatory document outlining required flexibility.
- Proposed Terms of Reference (Expert Review): SIPTU has demanded receipt of the proposed Terms of Reference for the recommended Expert Review of Nursing/Midwifery grades. This review was proposed within the recent Labour Court recommendations and will seek to examine detailed aspects of the nursing/midwifery workforce including grading.
- Nurse Management Structures – Mental Health (Area Directors of Nursing): Parties have agreed to prioritise the examination of existing nurse management structures within mental health. The commitment is to restart this process imminently and conclude same by the 1st November 2019. This examination will include a mechanism to address the long standing grading issue for Area Directors of Nursing. SIPTU confirmed to the Commission the deep frustration of our members and the need for an accelerated process to conclude this outstanding claim as one of priority.
- Advanced Nurse Practitioners – Mental Health: employer representatives confirmed the target of 2% (of the workforce) for appointment of advanced nurse practitioners will apply within mental health. This is consistent with the previous recommendation of the Labour Court and the target which will apply in the other sectors of the profession.
- Current Contracts v Enhanced Nursing: employers confirmed their intent that no enhanced incremental advancement will apply to current eligible nurses who remain on existing contract.
Please note the Workplace Relations Commission adjourned conciliation last evening and has invited parties to return on Friday, 28th June 2019 to advance all matters referred to above.
SIPTU has accepted this invitation. Further updates will issue as issues develop and negotiations advance. If you have queries relating to any matters arising, please contact your local SIPTU Organiser for guidance.