HSE plans 300 job cuts - Impact


The Health Service Executive (HSE) is proposing to cut up to 300 jobs held by staff on temporary employment contracts in the mid west as part of a new drive to tackle a €35 million financial deficit in the region, the trade union Impact has maintained.

Impact has warned of a serious industrial dispute if the HSE proceeded to terminate temporary contracts. The union has referred the issue to the Labour Relations Commission.

Impact said that HSE proposals for tackling the deficit in the mid west were set out at a meeting with management on Wednesday evening.

Impact official Andy Pike said: “One of the proposals was the dismissal of staff employed on fixed term contracts of employment. We estimate that there are between 200 and 300 such contracts in the Mid West. The HSE said that each contract will now be reviewed with a view either non-renewal of the contract when it expires or terminating the contract if the post is no longer determined to be a clear and pressing priority.”

He said such a measure would affect many different staff groups and that it was impossible to know exactly how many staff could be affected.

“It might be very few, but potentially could run into the hundreds across the three counties. We have referred the issue to the Labour Relations Commission for urgent conciliation” he said.

Mr Pike said the union had informed the HSE today that if it proceeded with the termination of contracts “we would be in a serious industrial dispute very quickly”.

“Impact has a collective agreement with the HSE that states no temporary employee with more than 12 months' service will be dismissed. The Croke Park agreement clearly states the Government will not make public servants compulsorily redundant. Yet before the ink has dried on the pages of the agreement the HSE appears to be intent on breaching one of the most crucial elements of the new national agreement by dismissing staff.”

Impact said that other cost- saving measures proposed by the HSE Mid West included:

* Closure of the orthopaedic operating theatre and an orthopaedic ward at Croom Orthopaedic hospital;

* 25 in-patient beds will be closed at Ennis General and Nenagh General Hospitals;

* Ward closure at St Joseph’s Hospital;

* Ward closure at the Mid Western Regional Hospital Limerick;

* Staffing will be cut through the elimination of overtime and a reduction in the use of agency staff;

* NCHD medical posts will be reduced through the reduction in locum cover;

* ENT services will be suspended completely;

* Charges in staff canteens will be increased by over 50 per cent (local price rises of 30 per cent are compounded by the imposition of VAT bringing the total cost increase to over 50 per cent).

* Car parking charges will be increased;

* The closures will be reviewed every 12 weeks until the end of the year.

On Wednesday evening the HSE said that it had provided trade unions with a briefing on its financial position. However it made no reference to the proposed cutbacks.