Issues discussed at the NIPSA Health Panel on 12 January were:
The NI Representative to the NHS Staff Council attended the meeting to update NIPSA on the current discussions on Pay. He updated the panel on discussions at the council for an early and significant pay rise for all NHS workers, including the submission of evidence to the pay review body that is currently being drafted. NIPSA’s views had been fed into the debate on the current pay claims and you will be aware the NIPSA’s claim is for 15% or £3,000 whichever is higher. We believe that is what you deserve and campaign material is being developed and will issue to Branches in the coming weeks.
Covid Surge Planning
The Health Panel are acutely aware that NIPSA members across all hospital and community settings are under severe pressure during this 3rd surge, both in relation to the historic staff vacancies and working in the health service during a pandemic with reduced numbers. NIPSA continue to engage with the employers on their surge planning to ensure your health and Safety at work. The current guidance is very clear; that those that can work from home, should do so and should not be in work. Branches are raising this with employers at every opportunity as your health & safety at work is critical and all issues in the work place should be raised with your local rep immediately to make sure all members remain safe.
There have been ongoing discussions locally and regionally with the Trusts and Trade Unions about Annual Leave during the current Covid surge, to ensure that members are getting time off to rest and are able to carry over leave that has not been used, while at the same time allowing employers to protect the service for patients.
Health Trade Unions asked that information explaining the rationale for the delay in the 2nd dose of the Covid vaccine be provided to members as the change in the rollout program has caused anxiety for some members working across the HSC. We will continue to ensure that you are provided with the detail you need from the appropriate sources including the Chief Medical Officer and the Deptartment of Health.
You will be aware that there is current urgent planning ongoing to staff the Nightingale ICU in Belfast and a call has gone out for volunteers to redeploy from their current posts across all the trusts to Belfast. NIPSA can support the call for volunteers but we are opposed to any forced redeployment of our members. This situation is likely to develop and we will keep you informed as information is known.
We appreciate that our members are working in difficult circumstances and NIPSA will continue to support you and protect your health & safety and terms and conditions while you face the fight against Covid. Should you have any issues please contact your Branch officers for advice and guidance.