Fórsa and other unions are to engage with management at St John of God community services (SJOG) about the development of its ‘sustainability impact assessment,’ which is to be developed in collaboration with the HSE.
This week the health department proposed the new initiative to address the serious financial issues at SJOG, a ‘section 38’ employer, and one of the country’s main disability and mental health service providers.
In a letter to staff issued on Wednesday (5th May), SJOG chief executive Claire Dempsey said the organisation had received notification that health department secretary general Robert Watt had told the HSE that SJOG is “a significant and important service provider for the State.”
He said SJOG has been asked to develop the new plan in order to provide “a pathway to financial and operational sustainability so that it can continue to maintain its important service delivery role in line with a reformed model of care.”
SJOG announced last September that it would cease running most of its services due to a funding deficit in excess of €32 million, and planned to transfer responsibility for the services to the HSE over a 12-month period. SJOG has told the health minister that the size of the deficit could have implications for its planned orderly wind-down and transition.
Fórsa official Deirdre O’Connell-Hopkins said unions were are fully aware of the scale of the difficulties facing the organisation.
“We are actively working with management to navigate our way through this complex and difficult process for our members. In the development of the proposed sustainability plan Fórsa will resist any changes that attempt to erode members’ terms and conditions of employment,” she said.
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