Launch of HPV vaccine for boys threatened by the latest union line



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Lectures: Siptu's health division representative, Paul Bell, arrives at the WRC. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Lectures: Siptu's health division representative, Paul Bell, arrives at the WRC. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

Eilish O & Regan

A new line of industrial relations at HSE is threatening the deployment of the HPV vaccine that saves lives for students in September, it emerged.

The vaccine, which protects against cervical cancer in women, is already given to girls of school age and is expected to be offered to boys from the next school year.

Boys would benefit by reducing the risk of oral cancer. Including them in vaccination would also reduce the risk of virus transmission.

The Irish Medical Organization, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organization and the Forsa are refusing to attend due to lack of staff. The HSE said: "They are currently refusing to cooperate with the launch in September."

It is the latest dispute to reach the HSE, which returned yesterday to the Commission on Relations in the Workplace to talk to Siptu about their demand paid € 20 million. The threat of a strike of 10,000 hospital support workers next Tuesday is still coming if the parties fail to agree on salary increases of between € 1,500 and € 3,000 for a range of workers, including porters, chefs and health workers.

HSE should engage in more talks with unions about recruiting staff to administer the HPV vaccine to boys in the coming weeks. He said: "The union group has maintained that not enough staff is being allocated."

However, the HSE analysis is that both nurse and physician numbers have increased since the HPV vaccine was introduced for girls.

Following the CervicalCheck scandal, the government placed a high priority on HPV vaccination.

Meanwhile, the 50-million-euro agreement over two years that triggered the nurses' strike earlier this year after three days of chaos at the health service has yet to be accepted by one of the unions. The Association of Psychiatric Nurses was back in the Workplace Relations Committee this month on additional allowances as well as demands around the historical relativity about general nurses. This seems destined to increase the overall account to resolve the dispute further.

Disputes are putting the government's payment strategy under increasing pressure.

Newly recruited hospital consultants are also demanding an end to the 30% salary gap compared to older hospital doctors.

Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe said: "The Public Service Payment Agreement is in place, which is budgeted. We need to protect the agreement, there is a wide variety of competing claims.

"There is an agreement in place that I am determined to protect."

Independent Irish

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