Minster supports regulation system for healthcare assistants

Minister for health Leo Varadkar. File photograph: Collins

‘The process now ongoing is a process of checking the facts before it is published’

Tony O Brien, director general of the  HSE, said he didn’t dispute the serious problems at the hospital. Photo: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Watchdog report into hospital could trigger legal action, warns Health Service Executive

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he wants to see the Portlaoise hospital report published but added two organisations using public money should not be in “court situations”.

Taoiseach says agencies using public money should not be in ‘court situations’

HSE director general Tony O’Brien: described the women’s accounts as “unverified” and said the draft Hiqa report lacks accuracy and balance. Photograph: Alan Betson

Criticism of medical staff in care of 83 women but HSE challenges report

The National Maternity Hospital, Dublin: an  HSE audit  found  additional money from private sources was paid to three managers at the hospital, ranging from €30,000 to €39,000 a year. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien / The Irish Times

Hospital on Holles Street still making top-up payments to three senior executives

Former minister for health James Reilly commissioned the report over a year ago. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Hiqa critical of midlands hospital where five babies died in controversial circumstances

The Irish Medical Organisation has consistently maintained that rules for doctors’ working hours were being widely breached

Analysis: State could face fines if EU court finds Ireland in breach of working time directive

In  opinion published on Thursday  Luxembourg Court states workers are entitled to a minimum rest periods, and Ireland’s decision to exclude training time from the calculation of doctors’ working time “encroaches on that minimum rest period”.

Court of Justice says Ireland failed to meet obligations under Working Time Directive

The corporate element of Arthur Cox’s work for child and family agency Tusla is worth €800,000 a year. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Department of Finance and Nama paid company €12m between 2011 and 2014

Union members at one of the State’s largest windfarm service providers are to go on strike as part of a row over pay increases and cuts to allowances. File photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Enercon union members to hold 72-hour industrial action in row over allowances

Figures released by the HSE show that in January it spent €27.398 million on agency staff.

Health service has target to cut agency bill and overtime by €30m this year

Siptu said that a re-configuration of services at the Central Mental Hospital had led to an erosion of workers’ terms and conditions.

Labour Court recommends payments for loss of overtime after work practice changes

Mount Carmel Hospital in Dublin’s Churchtown was bought by the HSE to provide 65 extra short-stay beds.  Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Siptu warns Haddington Road deal breached and industrial action cannot be ruled out

An oversight group for the Haddington Road Agreement has intervened in a bid to avert planned industrial action by prison officers. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Haddington Road Agreement group intervenes to try and prevent work-to-rule

Leo Varadkar is  expected to bring the  new plans to the Cabinet subcommittee on health when it is agreed. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Minister says some elements of emergency department proposals will save money

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin said he will invite public service unions to talks after the Government receives exchequer figures for the first quarter.

Only very finite amount of money available, industrial relations conference told

 Minister Ged Nash said a recent survey by employers’ group Ibec had indicated that 57 per cent of companies planned to increase basic pay this year. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Minister for Employment says he does not see a return to ‘old -style social partnership’

HSE director general Tony O’Brien: Told the Oireachtas committee on health last month that the Fair Deal scheme was the “Achilles heel” of the health services. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Reform of funding arrangements for Fair Deal nursing home scheme a key element

The  HSE says  the individual health identifer is not related to a person’s eligibility for care and it is not necessary for the patient to have or know the details of the number to access health or social care.

HSE says initiative will improve safety and reduce medical errors

Last week, Mandate said 67 per cent of its members at Dunnes Stores voted in favour of industrial action. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Thousands of Mandate union members to go on strike

David Begg who has retired as general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

Ictu general secretary retires after 14 years in position

Mandate has said 67%of its members at Dunnes Stores voted in favour of industrial action.

Dispute centres on pay, contracts and representation rights

The argument began on Monday when Dublin City Council announced that the Dublin Fire Brigade ambulance call and dispatch function would be transferred into the HSE’s control later this year. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

Union opposes to plans to transfer part of ambulance service in Dublin to the HSE

Ibec chief executive Danny McCoy: he is to call on the Government to further reduce income tax at the next budget and to invest heavily in infrastructure. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Employers group to use forum to call for more measures to stimulate economy

The Nursing and Midwifery Board said it had taken the decision to restore the €100 fee in the interest of   services and  the public to avoid a scenario where a large number of nurses and midwives who did not pay would not have been permitted to continue to work

Nursing unions had waged lengthy campaign against proposed rise from €100

 Eoin Ronayne, general secretary of the Civil Public and Services Union (CPSU). The CPSU said they are to seek a flat rate pay increase for lower-paid civil servants during forthcoming talks with the Government. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

The Civil Public and Services Union wants flat rate increase for lower-paid workers

Trolley hospital

Money would open more hospital beds, pay for nursing home places and provide for home help

Former minister for finance Brian Lenihan warned proposals for compulsory redundancies ‘could provoke a serious reaction’. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times

Finance minister sought to cut public service numbers from about 318,000 to 305,000

Irish Pharmacy Union president Darragh O’Loughlin: said pharmacists expected to be treated no differently from GPs or any other group. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Calls follow move to begin unwinding emergency cuts to GP fees

The Government has agreed a process to reverse some of the cuts imposed on GPs. Photograph: Getty Images

Work needed before Coalition’s plan for free GP care for everyone can be implemented

Image: ThinkStock

Concerns raised about quality of medical procedures at hospital

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar speaking at the Fine Gael party conference in Castlebar last weekend. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Leo Varadkar says members make ‘worship of the party line their religion’

The new memorandum of understanding says the substantive negotiations on the new GP contract will commence no later than March 31st, 2015.

Memorandum of understanding could pave way for free GP care

Ged Nash: he has declared that 2015 is the year of the pay rise across the economy

Employers rejects plans for raise as unions demand increase on €8.65 rate

President Michael D Higgins said the fears and aspirations of those trapped in chronic job insecurity must be addressed  during his Edward Phelan lecture at RCSI. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

President stresses need to help those in precarious employment during RCSI lecture

Taoiseach Enda Kenny speaking at the launch of the Low Pay Commission. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

80,000 will be removed from the scope of USC

Commissioner Niall Cody.Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Revenue sought assistance to bring some of those named in leaked bank files before Irish courts

The union Siptu will seek assurances on the future of 1,500 Aer Lingus jobs before deciding whether or not to back the bid. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Incoming Aer Lingus chief wants airline to be allowed manage sale of Ryanair 29.8% stake

IAG chief Willie Walsh has already conceded that some jobs could be lost in the Aer Lingus head office and in areas such as IT. Photograph: The Irish Times

Union officials caution members’ job security fears yet to be allayed

Isme chief Mark Fielding said the national minimum wage, which is currently set at €8.65, had failed in its stated task of addressing poverty.

Group urges reforms to allow people earn up to €20,000 without being taxed

Ibec claims rise could threaten business viability

In a letter to HSE director general Tony O’Brien, Dr O’Connell said his wife had got an academic position in Australia “and I wish to return to Australia to pursue other employment opportunities”. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Dr Tony O’Connell resigned unexpectedly in January after nine months in €147,549 job

A dispute over cost-saving plans at Dublin Bus led to a three-day strike at the company in August 2013

Controversial 19-month cost-saving plan was scheduled to run until the summer

Aer Lingus’s board recommended the IAG’s proposed takeover bid  but political and trade union opposition has been significant. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Trade unions to meet incoming CEO Stephen Kavanagh this week

Plans introduced by former minister for health Dr  James Reilly to introduce plain packaging for tobacco products are to go ahead despite a legal threat from the tobacco industry. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Government ignores legal threat from tobacco firms over new Public Health Bill

 Bus Éireann says the “meeting was convened so that both the company, and these unions, could state their position on the matter”. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish times

National Bus and Rail Union says its members due 6 per cent rise under agreements

VHI said the most common anomalies identified were incorrect accommodation fees being invoiced by the hospital. Photographer: Dara MacDónaill

After inquiries into inappropriate billing, state insurer recovered in region of €20m

Public hospital waiting lists continue to grow, new HSE figures show

Dr Donal de Buitléir: chair of the new Low Pay Commission which will advise the Government on the rate of the national minimum wage. File photograph: Paddy Whelan

Donal de Buitléir heads new eight-member body advising on national minimum wage

Then minister for health James Reilly had directed his officials to seek a meeting with the Department of Finance as part of a process aimed at determining how the surplus would be spent. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

James Reilly had sought talks with Finance officials on how money could be spent

Talks are expected to commence after Easter on rolling back the financial emergency legislation which underpinned the various reductions in terms and conditions. Photograph: The Irish Times

Document to 40,000 members indicates continuing campaign until cuts reversed

 Minister for Health Leo Varadkar: “It probably makes sense to phase this in over a longer period of time. It is best not done in a hurry.” Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Leo Varadkar ‘absolutely confident we will have the over 70s by the summer’

The Minister said a number of measures had been put in place to tackle emergency department overcrowding since the start of the year.  Photograph: Getty Images

Situation in A&E ‘now considerably worse than this time last year or the year before’

Labour Party TD Joe Costello described the Thornton Hall development as a “white elephant”. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Planned prison development in Co Dublin to replace Mountjoy was later shelved

Fine Gael TD John Deasy: “The last thing we want to do is pass legislation that could put a doubt in the mind of US investors about coming to Ireland.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne.

Introduction of new workers rights legislation is key issue for trade union movement

Among the areas where health services are under serious pressure are hospital emergency departments and maternity services, while there are also growing waiting lists for vital procedures and primary care. File photograph: Getty Images

HSE only received half additional money it sought to run health services in 2015

The demographic challenges facing the health service are well known: the over-65 population is growing by about 20,000 each year and the number of people over 80 is increasing by 4 per cent a year. The older the patient, the more complex and expensive their treatment tends to be. File photograph: Reuters

Opposition likely to seek answers on what clinical risks affected by lack of funding

Retailer Dunnes Stores has said it has a constitutional right not to engage directly with trade unions. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

Members of Mandate to ballot for industrial action over Labour Court recommendations

“Insurers should cover more procedures being done in primary rather than in hospitals, which is much more expensive”

Minister rejects warning by Irish Medical Organisation

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin has  said the new deadline for staff in the public service to retire if their pensions are to be calculated on the higher salaries in place prior to the Haddington Road cuts is June 2016. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Staff have until June 2016 to retire if pensions to be calculated on pre-Haddington Road pay

Siptu chief Jack O’Connor: Wants to see increases of 5% across the economy. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

With unemployment falling to just over 10% workers’ bargaining power is recovering

Nurses are to seek a full reversal of pay cuts which averaged about 7 per cent as well as the abolition of the pension levy as part of forthcoming talks on public service remuneration with the Government. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times.

INMO says it is ‘pay back time’ ahead of talks with Government

Outgoing Irish Congress of Trade Unions general secretary David Begg told the Public Service Executive Union’s social protection divisional conference that Ireland needs a ‘national understanding’ on income distribution. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Outgoing leader David Begg tells conference Ireland needs initiative to halt inequality

Upgrading a helipad at Galway University Hospitals ended up costing several times the original estimate, according to an audit report by the Health Service Executive.

Final cost of works on helipad surface exceeded €70,000, HSE audit says

The audit did not identify the hospital or consultants, but it indicated it was referring to the HSE south/southeast region. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

HSE audit finds two consultants hired through agency may not be specialists

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar claimed the health service is now in a more stable financial position than it has been for many years. Photograph: Oireachtas TV

Like a motoring ‘hit and run’ for doctors to fail to make such disclosures, says Minister

 Minster for Business and Employment Ged Nash. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Labour minster critical of hotels over boycott of new wage-setting arrangements

Minister for Business and Employment Ged Nash: he has published draft legislation aimed at establishing the low-pay commission. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Government set to argue that higher proposed ‘living wage’ is on voluntary basis only

Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, Co Galway. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

Hospital relies on locum staff to run services

 St James’s Hospital is one of eight designated cancer services centres. Photograph: Alan Betson

Report on implementation of cancer reforms to be launched today

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar: “The Minister is determined that the State will have the funds to ensure patient access to effective new therapies,” a spokesman said

Talks on cuts have reached stalemate in recent weeks

Jack O’Connor, general secretary of Siptu, said the union wanted increases of 5 per cent in the public and private sectors and that it would be seeking the introduction of a minimum living wage of €11.45 per hour. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Ibec says €11.45 living wage is utterly impractical and would destroy job creation

Siptu president Jack O’Connor has called for a new left-wing government and pay increases. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Ibec says trade union’s statement is reckless, foolish and detached from economic reality

Siptu chief Jack O’Connor: Trade union movement is ‘back on the offensive’ to regain ground lost by workers during the recession.  Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Union chief Jack O’Connor signals campaign to seek €11.45 per hour minimum living wage

The HSE has asked its internal audit unit to examine the process under which staff who were in acting positions were “regularised” into higher grades. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

HSE seeks to examine process of ‘regularising’ acting staff to higher grades

The Irish Hospital Consultants Association has said that the Government’s new pay proposals for hospital consultants will fail to attract urgently-needed  high calibre  doctors. File  photograph: Hugh Macknight/PA Wire.

Irish Hospital Consultants Association says Government plans will fail to attract talent

Doctors who are members of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) have voted to accept revised pay proposals for consultants working in public hospitals. Photograph: Getty Images.

Irish Medical Organisation backs revised pay deal by margin of 60% to 40%

Vhi is to cut the cost of seven of its plans by 3 per cent.

Move which will apply from March is a sign spiralling health insurance prices have eased

 Mary Lou McDonald of Sinn Fein is disappointed and concerned at the development. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

McDonald says mechanism to investigate claims must be found by Government

Civil servant Gerry Ryan had sent members of the committee a dossier several weeks ago setting out the allegations

Civil servant has made allegations of tax evasion against former senior politicians

Patricia King and outgoing General Secretary David Begg in Dublin. King was a lead negotiator in the talks with the Government that led to both the Croke Park and the Haddington Road agreements. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Unions face having to meet expectations of members as economy improves

Patricia King  has been appointed as the new general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. Photograph: The Irish Times/Frank Miller

Former Siptu vice president has been involved in trade union movement for 25 years

The Irish Pharmacy Union said there was evidence to show that schemes controlled by insurance companies had led to a reduction in the number and range of medicines accessible. Photograph: PA Wire

Groups criticise Government’s proposal for universal health insurance system

The proposed new system to end the existing two-tier health service was championed strongly by former minister for health James Reilly. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Department of Health officials warned Leo Varadkar that UHI plan was ‘unworkable’

Report says many people are critical either of universal health insurance in principle or of the particular model which has been put forward. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Concern that Government’s new health model would be ‘another form of taxation’ or result in loss of benefits

Healthcare professionals will remain in charge of decisions on patient treatment under the Government’s plans for universal health insurance. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar to bring proposals to Cabinet after Easter

Members of Cabinet warned contentious cuts to key care schemes would be very high risk

 The former chief executive of the St Vincent’s Healthcare Group Nicholas Jermyn:  was reappointed  last  summer to a new post of director of strategy.  Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Hospitals group was involved in controversy over top-up payments for executives

Coalition sources dismiss any return to myriad ‘sectional interests’ on key issues

Nurses in hospitals across the country have been voting to hold industrial action as overcrowding in hospital sees hundreds of patients confined to trolleys.

INMO members protest outside Leinster House to highlight over-crowding

The Irish Times reported on Tuesday that the confidential report commissioned by the HSE had concluded that Ireland was too rural to support an ambulance service to compare with the service in England and to meet official targets for response times.

Confidential report says HIQA ambulance targets cannot be met

Hiqa acknowledges the ageing of the ambulance fleet – one in five vehicles is over eight years old – and points to some examples of unsafe staffing levels, but it suggests major improvements could be made within existing resources –  which is  rejected by the trade union Siptu. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Controversies have left service facing serious scrutiny

The report, by UK consultancy Lightfoot Solutions, is likely to spark controversy in rural areas, where there have been repeated rows over response times. Photographer: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Improvements possible only by hiring 290 extra staff at cost of €15m a year, says report

 A patient on a trolly in a corridor in the A&E Accident and Emergency Department of St. James’s Hospital, Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson

Record numbers of patients on hospital trolleys represent a reversal of the reductions achieved in recent years. The only long-te(...)

The number of patients awaiting admission to a hospital bed has increased again and now stands at over 400.

Nurses in Beaumont to stage protest in effort to end overcrowding

Public service: lower-paid health workers want their pay concerns prioritised. Photograph: Alan Betson

Union says lower paid in public service were understood to be first in queue for pay review

The chief executive of the Labour Relations Commission Kieran Mulvey. Under new Labour Relations Commission proposals hospital consultants working exclusively in the public service could reach the maximum pay rate at a faster rate. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Labour Relations Commission proposals make maximum salary more attainable

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