Health News 2013
IMPACT and Siptu have written to health minister James Reilly seeking a meeting to discuss HSE management’s failure to deal with excessive sleepover demands on staff in residential care facilities. The unions say the HSE and the other voluntary employers are in breach of Irish and EU working time legislation, and that many staff are expected to work 55-70 hours a week.
A number of residential child care and disability agencies are breaching HSE pay guidelines for chief executives while requiring staff to work seven-hour sleepover shifts for just €6.40 an hour – well below the statutory minimum wage of €8.65 an hour. IMPACT and SIPTU today (Tuesday) said the HSE was tolerating top-up payments for senior managers in health agencies and hospitals, but refusing to address the fact that staff were being paid below the minimum wage for working essential sleepovers.
IMPACT has refused to accept a bizarre HSE plan to outsource payroll for the new Children and Families Agency. Management has admitted its proposal would cost the cash-strapped public health service €250,000 a year. IMPACT says the work can be done by existing staff at “little or no additional cost.”
IMPACT has highlighted continuing doubts over whether health minister James Reilly’s “money follows the patient” health reform plans will work. In a new information bulletin, which describes new health service structures, the union questions whether the minister’s model can be implemented in practice.
25% of posts unfilled in one region
IMPACT trade union today (Thursday) called on Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald to take urgent action to address a shortage of social workers, which the union says is undermining the State’s statutory obligation to protect children and threatens to thwart the effectiveness of the new Children and Families Agency.