A planned series of protests by the FNV trade union was suspended earlier this month following an initial commitment from the government to additional funding for the ambulance service. The union had set 15 November as the first day of action in a campaign to highlight the issue of serious staff shortages which had led to 20 of the 24 regional services failing to meet performance targets. The campaign has been suspended until 15 January on the basis of the health minister's proposal for an extra EUR 10 million a year for training and recruitment and a one-off investment of EUR 5.7 million to provide 20 new ambulances. Whether the campaign is resumed depends on the outcome of negotiations set for 14 December and 15 January.
Protests lead to action on ambulance staffing
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The Care and Welfare section of the FNV trade union has called on the government and employers to commit to urgent action to tackle understaffing and overwork in the ambulance service. The union says that increasing demand and lack of staff is creating an untenable situation and making it impossible for the service to meet its performance targets. FNV says the sector needs more permanent staff, accelerated training and adjustments to salaries so that they are in line with other collective agreements in the health sector. If there is no concrete response by 1 October the union will decide on
The vida public services union is joining up with the Chamber of Labour to launch a campaign to highlight the urgent need to increase staffing in hospitals. Various actions are planned as part of the "More of us. Better for All" campaign which will highlight the pressures on workers from understaffing. The main demands are for a 20% increase in hospital staffing with urgent action needed in acute care; introducing a national, binding basis for establishing staffing levels; and measures related to education and training to make health occupations more attractive to younger workers.
The HSSMS-MT nursing union has joined with other nursing organisations in submitting a series of demands on the government to address the urgent problem of understaffing resulting from emigration and retirement. The joint document highlights the increased pressure that the health service faces and the failure of recent governments to provide solutions. The unions and associations want to see proper recognition of qualifications and responsibilities in the job and pay structure and recruitment of more staff. They are also calling for clear plan to address training and education needs.