Fórsa trade union, which represents clerical and administrative staff in Irish health services, has praised the efforts of non-frontline healthcare staff in the roll out of Covid-19 vaccines, and for their work, now underway, to ship supplies to India.
The union’s head of Health and Welfare, Éamonn Donnelly, said the high volume of those registering for the vaccine, and making contact with the Covid vaccine helpline, illustrated the workload involved: “Since online registration opened up for those aged between 65 and 69 in mid-April, a total of 299,000 people have registered for the vaccine, of whom 40,000 have been provided with person-to-person helpline assistance by the HSE live helpline.
“In addition, there have been 23 recalibrations of the vaccine roll-out due to various circumstances, including interruptions in supply and clinical decisions taken with regard to the suitability of some vaccines to different cohorts. These changes create a significant administrative burden, but our members have continued to ensure a professional and well-organised response.
They’ve continued, throughout the current phase of public health challenges, to coordinate the full range of clinical services and integrated community healthcare and as their union we want them to know how proud we are of their efforts.
“The non-frontline staff responsible for this work are doing an exceptional job, and as their union we want them to know how proud we are of their efforts,” he said.
Éamonn added: “Our health system is composed of a wide range of dedicated professionals, delivering a diverse range of skills and services. Behind that delivery is a network of professional support that is rarely talked about, but ensures clinical services run as smoothly as possible.
“Clerical and administrative staff in health are always, for example, your first point of contact with health services, as indeed they are now in the vaccine roll-out efforts.
“They’ve continued, throughout the current phase of public health challenges, to coordinate the full range of clinical services and integrated community healthcare, as well as providing a range of specialised IT services, managing payroll and human resources.
“They are the home help coordinators and they’re at the frontline of child protection, and a community of professionals making sure vital healthcare supplies are to hand.
Fórsa is proud to represent them, and commend them for their handling of the high volume of work necessary in rolling out these vaccines. It is crucial and valued work.
“Without this dynamic mix of dedicated workers, which make up approximately 11% of the total health and welfare workforce, none of these supports would be available to our clinical professionals. Together, they strive to keep the heart of our health system beating.
“Fórsa is proud to represent them, and commend them for their handling of the high volume of work necessary in rolling out these vaccines. It is crucial and valued work,” he said.
Mobilising for India
Éamonn further acknowledged that health staff are now engaged in mobilising equipment which will be sent to India in order to help with the response to rapidly escalating Covid infection and fatalities there: “We received news this morning that a number of our member activists are among those now packing ventilators and PPE which is to be sent to India. I think it shows the degree to which our members working in health services are prepared to get stuck in and respond to the needs of others.
“We still have a huge job on our hands to deal with Covid in Ireland, but I think it’s essential that we are also part of global efforts to respond to those parts of the world where Covid is inflicting such severe damage,” he said.
Register to get a Covid-19 vaccine HERE.