Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health, Stephen Donnelly TD has said the Government’s ambivalence towards striking Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) ambulance personnel is endangering lives.
Deputy Donnelly was commenting following a 12-hour strike by ambulance personnel over the Health Service Executive’s refusal to recognise the PNA’s right to negotiate on behalf of members.
Deputy Donnelly explained, “With talk of an escalation of industrial action the Government can no longer sit twiddling their thumbs. The PNA have not ruled out 24-hour strike action nor an all-out strike, both of which would be disastrous.
“The PNA have one request, that the HSE use the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) to engage in dialogue with them. 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.
“Contingency measures to protect patients are in place and Defence Forces ambulance crews have also been deployed to plug gaps in service delivery but my understanding is that even the contingency plans are being communicated between the HSE and the PNA via a law firm – this is not how you should conduct this kind of business.
“The time has come for Minister Harris to get all Parties around the table. Doing nothing is not an option, not when there are lives potentially at risk”, concluded Deputy Donnelly.