Members Update - 24thJuly 2020

Subject: INMO update: Covid-19 Psychological Impact Survey, HCW Infections, Nursing home liquidations, Executive Council Elections, COVID-19 Nursing home expert panel report, Implementation of strike settlement and the expert group on nursing and midwiferycar parking for nurses and midwives, Limitations of COVID-19 Redeployment Policy Confirmed

Dear Member,

Key updates on some of the issues being addressed by the INMO for members in the past two weeks:

INMO COVID-19 Psychological Impact Survey

Following a number of requests from members, we have designed and launched a survey of members to measure the psychological impact of working in the current environment. This online survey is designed to gain an understanding of the psychological impact of COVID-19 on nurses and midwives in Ireland. The information will be used to inform the INMO strategy for supporting and representing nurses and midwives. The overall results will be published as a contribution to the professions' understanding of COVID-19 and its impact on nurses and midwives.  The survey takes approximately 11 mins to complete and all information is confidential.

We would appreciate if you would complete this survey by clicking the link INMO COVID-19 Psychological Impact Survey and please feel free to share with your nurse and midwife colleagues. 

HCW Infection Rates

 Infection rates among HCW continue to rise. The figures for the past month show:

 

Total

HCW     

01/08/2020

26162

8437

02/08/2020

26209

8438

03/08/2020

26255

8442

04/08/2020

26303

8444

05/08/2020

26372

8448

06/08/2020

26470

8451

07/08/2020

26644

8456

08/08/2020

26711

8458

09/08/2020

26767

8467

10/08/2020

26798

8469

11/08/2020

26929

8474

12/08/2020

26928

8480

13/08/2020

26991

8484

14/08/2020

27191

8495

15/08/2020

27257

8501

16/08/2020

27309

8510

17/08/2020

27493

8523

18/08/2020

27540

8527

 

As you know we have referred a dispute re: non-payment of premium payments of those infected and off duty to the Workplace Relations commission. Conciliation hearings have been held, are adjourned and due to reconvene next week. This matter remains outstanding and may require the intervention of the Labour Court if the employer continues to deny the rights of nurses and midwives who have lost money due to no fault of their own, while absent due to requirements to self-isolate with an occupational acquired infection.  

In addition we continue to lobby political parties in government to amend the Health and Safety regulations to allow classification of COVID 19 as a workplace injury and provide statutory powers  to the Health and Safety Authority, to undertake inspections of workplaces in healthcare including hospitals.

It is very disappointing that to date, these demands, from INMO, ICTU and other trade unions representing healthcare workers, have not been implemented by Government. We will continue to demand the amendments as it is not acceptable that the level of protections afforded workers in health services are entirely left to their employer to decide. There is no provision for inspection by the State’s independent body - the Health and Safety Authority, and this is unacceptable, considering the higher risks and infection rates experienced by health care workers, including nurses and midwives.

Nursing home Liquidations

The INMO, SIPTU and Forsa are representing members employed in Caritas Convalescent Centre, St. Mary’s Centre Telford and St. Monica’s Nursing Home who are being made redundant due to the three companies going into liquidation.  This is resulting in the loss of 200 jobs and over 160 beds from the health services.  All three facilities are ultimately owned by the Religious Sisters of Charity and have been set up as independent corporate entities.  They are primarily funded by the HSE.

The unions successfully pursued a claim at the Labour Court on behalf of members working in Caritas, which was the first facility to close, seeking the enhanced public service redundancy terms, i.e. 3 weeks per year of service on top of statutory redundancy and a termination payment for those with under two years’ service. The Labour Court identified the Sisters of Charity and the HSE as the parties responsible for the implementation of the Recommendation. 

The unions are currently engaging with the Sisters of Charity and the HSE, seeking implementation of the Labour Court Recommendation to staff in all three locations as the circumstances are the same.

In addition, the unions have written to the Chairman of the Board of the HSE, requesting an examination into the circumstances of these closures, particularly the manner in which the staff has been treated by their employer. -The unions have also sought that the HSE step in and take over section 39 and privately run services that are at threat of closure to ensure that residents and patients are fully protected and that jobs are maintained.  

The INMO continues to work closely with its members across all three facilities, providing guidance and support, assisting them to get new jobs, ensuring they receive their statutory entitlements and arrears outstanding, and in pursuit of redundancy payments beyond the minimum statutory entitlement.

We would ask that any member who believes their workplace may be at threat of closure to please contact their local INMO official immediately.

Executive Council Elections

By way of reminder - the postponed count of all eligible ballots received for the incoming Executive Council representatives 2020 – 2022 will take place in INMO HQ on September 7th.  A full list of all elected representatives will be notified to members immediately following the count.   As notified previously the annual conference will not be proceeding in its usual format this year, however, annual conference business will be undertaken, including the election of President, first and second vice presidents on the 9th October. All delegates already selected will be notified with details after the 7th September Executive Council meeting.

COVID-19 Nursing home Expert Panel Report

The Expert Panel was chaired by Prof. Cecily Kelleher. In addition to the Chair, the Panel comprises Ms. Brigid Doherty, Ms. Petrina Donnelly, and Prof. Cillian Twomey. The INMO made a written submission to the panel and presented oral evidence to it, on matters set out in the submission.  

The final report and its recommendations were published Wednesday, 19th August by Minister for Health Mr Stephen Donnelly and Minister for Mental Health and Older People Ms Mary Butler.  It is welcome that the request in our submission for the framework for nurse staffing to be implemented in care of the older person services is one of the priority recommendations as well as providing greater clinical authority and education to nurses in this setting. These are essential recommendations and long overdue.

There are several pressing matters in this report that we are raising with Minister Donnelly and we wrote to him today, view letter here: requesting an urgent meeting regarding the same.  Executive summary can be found below.

You can view final report here: Covid-19-Nursing-Homes-Expert-Panel-Final-Report,  Page 101 – 113 of the final report sets out recommendations.  

Car Parking for Healthcare Workers- Covid 19

The INMO have lobbied extensively on behalf of members following Dublin City Councils decision to cease free street parking for healthcare workers in the vicinity of the workplace. As a result, Dublin City Council have provided 500 parking spaces at a daily rate of €5 per day in the Ilac Centre, Drury Street and Dawson Street car parks. The INMO do not believe this is adequate and continues to engage with the employer and Government to ensure Nurses and Midwives are supported to attend work and that adequate parking is available free of charge.

7. Implementation of strike settlement and the expert group on nursing and midwifery.

We continue to meet the HSE in relation to the implementation of the strike settlement, including appointments to Enhanced Staff nurse/midwife roles.

As reported in previous notice, the Expert Group has commenced its process of examining the issues relating to the nursing managers and related grades pay. We expect a request for submissions will be issued shortly and we will be strongly advocating on behalf of our members to the expert group.

Limitations of COVID-19 Redeployment Policy Confirmed

Following extensive lobbying by the INMO, the HSE have confirmed today that the Covid-19 Redeployment Policy is limited only to specific deployments which are required at short notice because of Covid-19. Redeployments for any other purpose are subject to the normal information and consultation provisions as outlined in the Public Service Agreement. This clarification was issued at our request to prevent abuse of the policy which was agreed for use in emergency circumstances only.

Next week a meeting will take place to review the Covid-19 redeployment policy itself.

INMO Media coverage

in the past week of some of the matters related to INMO members can be read here  INMO Media Coverage

Please continue to contact INMO with any issue that requires our advice/input

Is mise le meas,

Phil Ní Sheaghdha
General Secretary

 

 


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