Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Niamh Smyth has said the government are putting lives at risk in their treatment of ambulance service personnel who are striking this week. Today members of The National Ambulance Service Representative Association (NASRA) which is a branch of the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) are involved in industrial action.
Deputy Smyth said, “Today will be the fifth day of strike action for the ambulance personnel. I have been engaging with those from Cavan-Monaghan as ambulance services are stretched to dangerous levels.
“I also met with our Cavan-Monaghan service personnel when they protested outside Leinster House last week. 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 (WRC). 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 however 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 Minister must engage directly with officials from our ambulance services to ensure healthcare workers are listened to and that ambulance services in our constituency are adequately resourced,” concluded Deputy Smyth.