1,900 leave under health exit schemes

Thursday 6th January 2011

IMPACT is urging members to inform their local IMPACT branch of any local management proposals for reorganisation and redistribution of work following the exit of staff under the health service voluntary redundancy and early retirement schemes.

This is to ensure that any changes take account of the protocol agreed with the union in Labour Relations Commission last November and the staff protections set out in the Croke Park agreement.

Some 1,900 people left the health service under the schemes at the end of last year. Discussions are now taking place between the union and management at local level to minimise the impact of this on services. These talks are happening within procedures agreed at the Labour Relations Commission.

Last month IMPACT wrote to health minister Mary Harney demanding to know how she planned to ensure that the voluntary redundancy scheme would not hit services. The union said it would be mid-December before details of who was leaving emerged. In fact, this was still not clear in the final days before Christmas.

Meanwhile, the health service Croke Park action plan is to be revised to take account of funding cuts, announced after December’s Budget, and falling staff numbers due to the voluntary redundancy scheme and the ongoing recruitment embargo.

IMPACT national secretary Louise O’Donnell will be among the union representatives at the health service Croke Park national implementation body when it meets next week to discuss aligning the action plan with the HSE’s 2011 service plan, which was published just before Christmas.

The HSE service plan places a big emphasis on integrated services and primary care in the community. But these initiatives will have to be implemented in the context of falling budgets and fewer staff.

The IMPACT health division executive has asked the HSE’s head of integrated services Damian McCallion to make a presentation on the integrated service areas to a meeting of all the union’s health branches on 20th January.