Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health, Stephen Donnelly TD has called on the Government to stop dawdling, and act to prevent next Tuesday’s ambulance strike.
The Deputy was commenting following consultation with ambulance drivers in recent days, including at their Dáil protest this week.
Those involved in the industrial action are members of The National Ambulance Service Representative Association (NASRA) which is a branch of the Psychiatric Nurses Association, PNA.
The Health Service Executive does not engage with the PNA in relation to grievance procedures and investigations for ambulance personnel, which is at the centre of this dispute.
Donnelly said, “This coming Tuesday will be the fifth day of strike action for these ambulance personnel. The only request that they have on the table, in order to avoid strike action, is that the HSE would engage with them via the Workplace Relations Commission. The WRC has invited both parties to talk, but the HSE isn’t engaging directly. Instead, it is corresponding with the PNA via a legal firm.
“Worryingly, my understanding is that contingency measures to ensure patients are protected while the strike is in place, are also being communicated between the HSE and the PNA via a law firm. This sounds to me like a poor use of public monies, and a very peculiar way to organise critical healthcare cover.
“Minister Harris says he has asked his officials to engage. But nothing is happening. The HSE is refusing to directly engage, while paying large sums of public money to a law firm to do that for them. The strike is still going ahead. And I’m told that HSE has the same law firm liaising with the PNA on contingency measures. This seems bizarre to me, and the latest example of a government that refuses, time and time again, to listen to healthcare workers.”