The INMO, the IMO and Fórsa are fully committed to the rollout of the HPV vaccine to boys.
"In fact, we were at the forefront of seeking the extension of the vaccination to boys, as individual unions, and also as part of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions," a joint statement read.
There is an issue in respect of adequate staff numbers to provide the extension of the vaccine without increasing the workforce. There is currently a recruitment pause, as well as an acute staffing shortage, while in the meantime this rollout represents additional workload.
"The matter was the subject of a conciliation hearing on 18th June at the WRC, following which the HSE requested an opportunity to reflect at conciliation. We consider that within this procedure, the HSE must concentrate on bringing forward realistic proposals to ensure the programmes can roll out. The HSE is due to revert under the auspices of the WRC within three weeks and we very much welcome this," the organisations said.
The IMO’s Dr Ann Hogan, Chair of the IMO Public Health and Community Health Committee, said the IMO is concerned that the resources allocated for the HPV for boys will not be sufficient for the successful rollout of this initiative. She also expressed concern at the many unfilled posts and vacancies in Community Health Departments throughout the country.
Forsa stated that they hope that the HSE grasp the opportunity now to put the necessary staffing in place, across all disciplines, to properly deliver a much welcome enhancement of public health provision.
The INMO’s general secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha said: “The HSE committed to a national agreement to appoint 160 Public Health Nurses in 2019, roles which would be central to this extension. They are now reducing this number to 98 sponsored positions, despite having received 284 applications."
“This vaccine extension certainly can roll out, but it requires additional staffing, rather than reductions in the workforce."
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