THE HSE has been accused of making "no constructive effort" to resolve issues arising from the withdrawal, after 57 years, of the Daughters of Wisdom from providing services at Cregg House to persons and families dealing with mental disabilities.
The claim come in a no-punches pulled statement issued on behalf of the Daughters of Wisdom yesterday (Thursday).
"The HSE has an obligation," said the statement " to provide this service either directly or through a service provider."
Meanwhile, the INMO nursing union has taken issue with SligoToday.ie
over its coverage of the crux. See below.
By any standard, the Sisters' statement yesterday is definitive: The nuns have now kindly offered, an extended deadline. This will be "short term." They were due to withdraw from the service next Thursday, October 4th.
The statement's final paragraph has told trade unions (and all others): "We would respectfully suggest that all concerns should be addressed to the HSE."
Opening its statement the Daughters of Wisdom said it was "aware of the concerns of staff and families."
These concerns were identified in the statement as (a) the future of the service and (b) the manner in which it will be provided.Properly Addressing
The Daughters of Wisdom statement then itemises a timeline and recap of the unfolding crux, which affects over 200 families.
1. The Daughters have been in discussion with the HSE since November 2011 re: "the gross underfunding of the service."
2. By June 2012, said yesterday's statement: "It was apparent to us that despite these discussions the HSE had no intention of properly addressing this matter."
3. In June 2012 also the Sisters "announced our decision with deep regret to end our role as service provider." Why? "We could not continue or stand over this continued underfunding," explained the statement.
4. In July 2012, it adds, "We served a formal three month notice of termination on the HSE."
The statement continues: "The HSE has an obligation to provide this service either directly or through a service provider."
"However, despite our notice of termination and despite a number of meetings since that was served, no constuctive effort has been made by the HSE to address this obligation or the issues arising on our withdrawal as service providers."
The Daughters of Wisdom said "We recognise and accept our duty to service users and staff and it is our intention to continue to provide the service in the short term.
"However, these issues must be addressed in a timely and constructive fashion and resolved by the HSE with an urgency that has been lacking to date."
The Sisters' statement concludes: "We would respectfully suggest all concerns should be addressed to the HSE."
understands that the most recent discussions between HSE and Daughters of Wisdom took place this week...24 hours before the statement was issued.
Secondly, it remains to be seen what will be the attitude of nursing union INMO now that the nuns have confirmed (a) they have not changed their mind and (b) have clearly said to all that "all concerns" should be raised with the HSE.
One of the planks of the Department of Health going forward will almost certainly be to achieve (unquantified) annual budget savings by seeking to vary the skillmix ratios between nursing and care attendants. INMO Response
The INMO nursing union has taken SligoToday.ie
to task over its focus on that series of issues. See its letter below.
That union accuses yesterdays article
of being 'riddled with inaccuracies'.
Yet, in its opening paragraphs there is a whopping inaccuracy on the core issue. The INMO should understand that it is not, repeat not, the function of the Daughters of Wisdom, to "advise" INMO of who the new service provider will be.
That decision is entirely a reserved function within the HSE. It will (likely) have to invite submissions or expressions of interest from parties through (possibly) a public advertisement, if it does not become the service provider itself.
The INMO must know full well that the STATUTORY obligation to provide this service lies solely with the State, not with the outgoing service provider?
The Daughters of Wisdom statement explains, repeatedly so, that the HSE lack of effort and lack of State funds are core problems.
Why then was the INMO training its gunboat, figuratively, on the departing Daughters of Wisdom and not on the HSE? And trains its gunboat now on this media outlet....while still ignoring the HSE?
The INMO could usefully spell out, publicly, how it will assist any new service provider. It will need to show great generosity on the skillmix ratio issue. We seek specifics.
The letter from the INMO fails to address an important issue which has been repeatedly raised by Daughters of Wisdom.
Namely, what will happen the special ethos the service provider since 1955 brought to this service for families and persons dealing with mental disability, if it reverts to HSE or to a new service provider.
What is the INMO position re: any new service provider handed an annual budget already categorised in September 2012 as "gross underfunding?" Will INMO accept that re-balancing the budget for 2013 onwards my mean less nurses, more care assistants?
acknowledges in yesterday's article on Cregg House, SIPTU was incorrectly named as one of the unions representing some grades of staff.
The emergency Cregg House staff meeting gets underway at 9am this morning (Friday).
In the interest of total transparancy, SligoToday.ie
has below, as requested, published the full letter (email) received from the INMO Director of Industrial Relations, Phil Ní Sheaghdha
27th September, 2012.
In response to a special report in sligotoday.ie dated 27th September 2012, the Trade Unions, wish to correct a number of inaccuracies in this special report.
First and foremost, there is no ambiguity as to the nature of a Trade Union’s business; it is to look after the interest of their members.
It just so happens that the members of the Unions who work at Cregg House have a special interest in ensuring that the care and welfare of those under their care is not compromised by uncertainty.
The Trade Union’s point in raising this in the media is very simple. The current provider, the Daughters of Wisdom, have not to date advised of who the provider will be after the announcement, which they made earlier this year, that they will be withdrawing from the provision of services for persons with an intellectual disability from 4th October.
The HSE have not confirmed that they will be taking over the service on this date. The Trade Unions’; INMO and IMPACT, (contrary to the article, SIPTU are not representing workers at Cregg House) simple point is that the staff who care for the clients need to know who is in charge as and from the 4th October and the arguments/discussions between the HSE and the Daughters of Wisdom, to which the Unions are not party, should focus on ensuring stability and avoid unnecessary anxiety for the clients and/or the staff.
We believe the deadline of 4th October caused this anxiety, considering there was no confirmation of who the provider would be in place on that date from either the Daughters of Wisdom or the HSE.
The Daughters of Wisdom have today confirmed to the INMO that they will now move that date, acknowledging that the discussions between themselves and the HSE could take longer than anticipated, and therefore they will commit to staying with the service, post October 4 th 2012, in the short term.
In respect to the statements in this “Special Report” around Transfer of Undertaking – the Transfer of Undertaking Regulations can apply when the Trade Unions have been advised of who the new provider is going to be. This information has not been given to the Trade Unions as yet, therefore such discussions cannot commence.
Fundamentally, this article is riddled with inaccuracies. The INMO is not interested in placing anybody in the line of fire, what we are interested in is getting information around the provision of the service for the future for the clients that are relying on it. This is the interest of the INMO and IMPACT members who work in the service day in day out; who view the clients and their needs as warranting this information. While the Daughters of Wisdom and the HSE engage in a ‘cat and mouse game’, we believe it is incumbent upon the current provider to advise its staff and its residents and their families of the changing status, considering they had notified that they are pulling out on 4th October.
It is also worth noting that the Trade Unions have had numerous discussions on skillmix and staffing in this service and indeed in other services.
In respect of gratitude, I think it is fair to say that all of the staff who work at Cregg House are grateful to the clients and service users they provide services to for the positive feedback they receive on a daily basis for their good and trusted service.
They wish to continue with that good and trusted service and they wish to do that without interfering with the right of the service users to know who the service provider is going to be. When they did not know this answer, just six days before the date due for changeover, I think it is only right and fair that they ask the question and when the current service provider is unable to furnish them with an answer, that they ask their Trade Union to bring that to the attention of the general public, with a view to getting a response from their employer, the Daughters of Wisdom. It seems that the Daughters of Wisdom have responded to this public request by confirming this afternoon, that they will be staying with the service after 4th October 2012. This is welcomed by the Trade Unions who commit to engaging proactively with the Daughters of Wisdom and the HSE at all times to ensure a seamless transition of this service to the next provider.
In respect of the comments that have been made, that in some way there is an added bonus of moving from a private employer to a State employer, in this case, as confirmed in the Dail by Minister Lynch, and as the author of this particular report clearly does not understand, all of those employed at Cregg House enjoy the same terms and conditions as those employed in the Public Service, inclusive of the provisions of the Public Service Agreement. Therefore, moving to the HSE or any other Public Service employer will make no material difference to the terms and conditions of those employed at Cregg House.
It is unfortunate that opinions are published which are inaccurate and factually incorrect. We can only assume that the intent is an attempt to stop those who speak on behalf of workers, who, in this case, are providing a very good service, with dedication and care. Unfortunately, this is just another example of current right wing opinion presented anonymously against those who believe that workers have the right to voice their opinion, particularly when it concerns the rights of those that they provide services to.
The old Irish proverb comes to mind: “Is baolach an rud é, beagan eolais!” - little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
Finally, the staff who work at Cregg House and members of the Trade Unions who will be meeting with them tomorrow morning at 9.00am at an emergency meeting, wish to thank those members of the public who applaud their approach to this matter and have notified them of their support.
PHIL Ni SHEAGHDHA,
Director of Industrial Relations,
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