Unions reach agreement over emergency department talksThursday 04 February 2016 23.37
The Health Service Executive has agreed to enter talks to discuss knock-on claims to extend benefits awarded to nurses in a deal to address emergency department overcrowding to other grades.
The HSE and the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation negotiated the proposals at the Workplace Relations Commission last month to avert a nurses' strike over understaffing and overcrowding in hospital Emergency Departments.
That deal provided for a €1,500 training bursary, two extra days leave in 2016 and 2017, as well as additional promotional posts.
The result of the INMO ballot on the proposals is due tomorrow.
Industrial observers had forecast that other health unions whose members were also experiencing difficult conditions in EDs were likely to submit claims for similar benefits.
Tonight's deal agreed at the Workplace Relations Commission provides for talks on extending the nurses' benefits to other grades to commence within seven days.
The potential cost implications are unclear.
That talks process forms part of a package of proposals to address fury by the IMO, SIPTU and IMPACT that they were being excluded from ED consultative forums to address overcrowding - with the INMO insisting only they had done a deal entitling them to attend the forums.
The HSE has now agreed to set up a parallel process of talks with the three excluded unions - and to discuss extending representation on the Emergency Department Task Force Implementation Group to include them.
SIPTU Health Division Organiser Paul Bell said his members including nurses, radiographers, ambulance personnel, support grades and other health professions intended to play an active and vocal role in resolving the issue.
The IMO issued a circular to members this evening stating that agreement has been reached on IMO participation in new forums to deal with overcrowding, and that a process has been agreed that will ensure clinician input in the decision-making process.
It said it had also been agreed that consideration will be given in regard to membership of the ED Task Force Implementation Group so as to include representatives from the IMO and other health unions.