Attn: All INMO Members
On last Tuesday, 13th May 2014, the INMO, together with the other main health sector unions, attended the most recent meeting of the Haddington Road Oversight Body for the health service.
At this meeting we received a briefing, from each of the four senior Directors in the HSE responsible for the following areas:
- acute hospitals;
- primary care;
- older person and disability; and
- mental health;
In relation to these plans you are asked to note the following:
1. It was confirmed that the INMO, and all of its members, are fully compliant with all obligations under the Haddington Road Agreement.
2. Notwithstanding this the HSE believes it is required to secure a further €80 million, in addition to the €213 million already secured, in order to meet the target laid down by government.
3. The plans, tabled earlier this week, while not seeking any further reductions/ adjustments to pay, amount to a full frontal attack upon staffing, in the frontline, and the quality of services available to patients.
4. In particular, and I stress this is just a summary, the plans seek:
further reduction in staffing numbers through non-replacement under the embargo;
reduction in existing skill mix arrangements, particularly in older person and disability services, which would reduce the number of professionals replacing them with inexperienced staff;
substitution of experienced/trained support staff, in other sectors, again with inexperienced staff under the support staff intern programme;
replacing nursing vacancies, in the community, with newly graduated nurses contrary to best practice where all new health professional graduates require peer support and mentorship before working on their own; and
reduction in the number of operational nurse managers in care of the older persons sector.
It should be noted the latest HSE plan does not have any impact upon management structures away from the frontline. It should also be noted these plans have not been subject to any safety audit or risk assessment.
5. In response to these flawed damaging proposals, which would seriously compromise patient care and would be in addition to the cuts and excessive workloads already existing, the INMO has:
sought immediate meetings with the three government Ministers in the Department of Health;
sought an immediate meeting with the Oireachtas Health Committee to highlight our concerns with regard to patient safety;
sought an immediate meeting with the Director of Patient Safety and Quality in the HSE; and
will be holding discussions with patient support groups, and other professional groups/representatives, in the health sector, to discuss the implications of these grossly ill-informed and damaging proposals.
The INMO is now reaffirming its advice, to all members, that they are fully compliant with their obligations under Haddington Road. Furthermore we are now advising all members that they SHOULD NOT agree to any changes/ initiatives which they believe will negatively impact upon patient care and safety and the ability of nurses and midwives to deliver safe care through safe practice.
All of our Industrial Relations Officers, across the country, have been fully briefed on these plans and, in turn, they will, in coming days, brief local representatives/ members with regard to how to react if any of these damaging proposals are tabled in your workplace/area. In addition we are convening, immediately, a series of regional meetings, for our Director/Assistant Director members to provide them with the supports necessary, as managers, to resist these damaging plans.
These proposals are, without doubt, fundamentally flawed and will compromise the safety of patients and the ability of every nurse/midwife to deliver safe care through safe practice. At all times, regardless of the pressure placed upon you locally, you must insist that you are not put in a position which you believe will be contrary to best practice and standards.
Obviously there will be local meetings, and updates, in relation to this latest development, under Haddington Road, in the coming days and weeks and you are asked to pay close attention to local noticeboards, and our website, for ongoing developments.
Thank you for your attention to this note.