29th April 2008
It is entirely regrettable that the IMPACT trade union has announced that it plans to initiate industrial action in the health service in three weeks.
Mr Martin McDonald, National Director of Human Resources with the HSE stressed -
"The HSE is required to deliver health services within the financial resources provided by the Government for 2008. This poses many challenges not least of which is to ensure that resources are targeted at front-line services. The threat of industrial action, which is outlawed under the current national agreement, Towards 2016, is the cause of unnecessary concern and worry to those who avail of both community and hospital services.
"The HSE calls on IMPACT, which represents managers and other grades, to withdraw the threat of industrial action and invites it to engage in dialogue with a view to agreeing measures which can be implemented to ensure the health service lives within its budget in 2008".
The HSE stresses that there are well established procedures in place both within the HSE and as part of the states' Industrial Relations machinery to deal with grievances
It is highly regrettable that the union has chosen to go outside the agreed procedures and processes laid down in successive National Partnership Agreements and ballot its members for industrial action.
On receipt of the formal notice from IMPACT the HSE will seek to meet with the union to be informed as to the nature of the proposed action and to consider contingency plans to protect services to patients/service uses.
Contrary to some public statements by IMPACT officials, there is no embargo on recruitment in place within the health service since January 2008. There are arrangements in place to enable posts to be filled. Since January 2008, over 900 posts have been approved to be filled by Employment Monitoring Groups set up in January 2008.
Recruitment continues to happen. For example, a large number of Medical Consultant posts were approved and advertised in recent weeks.
With regard to other claims by IMPACT, since last September (when the temporary recruitment pause was introduced until the end of 2007), the number of Speech & Language Therapists and Occupation Therapists employed has, in fact, increased. This clearly shows there is no recruitment embargo in place and demonstrates the HSE's commitment to improving front-line services.
The number of staff employed in the health service at end February 2008 was 110,380. Some 18,000 of these were in the management/administrative ranks represented by IMPACT.
Last updated on: 30 / 04 / 2008