IMPACT trade union has responded to media reports today (Thursday) about HSE proposals to reduce costs. IMPACT national secretary Louise O’Donnell said that no formal proposals have been tabled to unions by the HSE.
Ms O’Donnell explained, “While HSE management had indicated that it was looking at the issue of staff working unpaid additional hours, it accepted that the proposal to extend the working week was not something that could be addressed within a forum exclusively concerned with the health service.
“Similarly, in October 2011, the HSE made similar statements about increasing the working week but didn’t table any proposals to the unions. Management later accepted that such proposals could only be dealt with on a public sector-wide basis.
“Management also accepted that the measure could not form the basis of a solution to the current financial difficulties of the HSE.
“IMPACT expressed its concern that management appeared to have no solutions to address the HSE’s financial difficulties beyond a very poorly defined proposal to extend working hours.
“Despite the absence of more substantial cost saving solutions, IMPACT indicated that we are available to meet with management at regional or local level when they have proposals to table” she said.
Ms O’Donnell stated that management’s assertion that longer working hours could be a ‘catch-all’ solution to the problems of the health sector was just lazy management and showed a complete failure to understand the complex nature of service delivery within the sector. “It demonstrates a reluctance to ensure that their own managers stay within budget and comply with instructions to reduce overtime and the use of agency staff. Every year at this time it’s the same crisis in relation to the budget” she said.