Friday, November 9 th : The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) said today (Friday, 9 th. Nov) that there has been significant disruption to ambulance services throughout the country since the implementation of an overtime ban by its 500 ambulance personnel members on Wednesday last (Nov. 7 th ) .
The overtime ban in part of the Phase 2 of industrial action (which began on Oct.10 th ) in protest at continued refusal of the HSE to engage in negotiations with the PNA when representing their interests, or to make payroll deductions of union subscriptions for PNA ambulance personnel members.
The PNA said its members are reporting that ambulance services are being stretched to the limit as the HSE has struggled to fill rosters and maintain crews in the absence of overtime from PNA members.
PNA General Secretary, Mr Peter Hughes said this escalating dispute which was brought on by the intransigent and reckless decision by the HSE to not allow ambulance personnel to join the union of their choice, is now putting the national ambulance services under serious and potentially dangerous strain.
“The HSE has been putting a patchwork of vehicles and crews together to cover major gaps in rosters as a result of the overtime ban. It is time for this to stop, and for the Minister for Health, Simon Harris T.D. to instruct the HSE to get back to running our health services and stop trying to undermine the rights of ambulance personnel to be part of the PNA union.'
Mr Hughes said there have been examples all this week of ambulance services having to be cut back and curtailed because of the overtime ban. Examples include:
• Redeployment of EMT crew to Cork on Wednesday to bring ambulance numbers up;
• ICV ambulances put on Delta calls in Cork, although they are not equipped for these calls;
• Thurles ambulance in Cork to give cover;
• No Rapid Response Vehicles (RRV) in Nenagh on Wednesday night;
• No ambulance in Mallow on Wednesday night;
• No RRV in Middleton on Wednesday night
- Just four out of seven ambulances were on the road in Cork City.
- No ambulance in Tullamore,
- Only 1 of 2 ambulances operational in Dublin South Central
- No ambulance in Clonakilty
- No ambulance in Ardee
- No ambulance in Middleton
- No ambulance in Millstreet
Today (Friday to midday)
- No ambulance in Fermoy
- One ambulance not operational in Cork.
- No RRV in Dunmanway
- No ambulance in Dunmanway
- No ambulance in Drogheda
- One ambulance down in Ennis (of two)
- No RRV in Nenagh.
Sinead McGrath, the National Chairperson of the PNA, branch (NASRA) said ambulance personnel members (including paramedics, advanced paramedics and emergency medical technicians) are resolute and determined to have their rights to be members of the PNA , the union of their choice, respected.
‘In the same week that the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar said the pressures across the health services demanded that health workers restrict their Christmas leave, the HSE is struggling to maintain ambulance services as a result of its own actions in trying to force ambulance personnel into a union they do not want, while denying them the right to be members of a branch of the PNA.'.
‘As we move to the second week of our overtime ban it is time for the Minister for Health, Simon Harris to call a halt to this HSE policy and insist that ambulance personnel be allowed join the union of their choice. As dedicated front line emergency professionals, they deserve to have their wishes to join and support their union respected. The intransigence of the HSE in forcing this dispute on ambulance personnel should be of concern to all trade unionists.'
Media Contacts: Derek Cunningham (086-2430535), Sinead McGrath (087-766 8814), Tony Gregg, (086-3344186) , Peter Hughes (087-2103514)