Discussions on the implementation of new hospital pharmacy structures, and associated pay scales, got underway between Fórsa, the HSE and the health department earlier this week.
Once in place, the reforms will enhance career structures, create over 180 advanced specialist posts, install an executive manager post and deputy executive manager post, and remove three points from the basic grade pay scale.
It will also bring increased protections on weekend services, out of hours and extended working days. HSE management has validated that the new structure will be save public money, but there has been considerable delay over its implementation.
Fórsa official Catherine Keogh welcomed this week’s move towards implementation, and the HSE’s lead negotiator agreed that it was a significant and long-awaited day. He said the employers were committed to the implementation process.
Catherine said hospital pharmacists had played a pivotal role in the Covid-19 vaccination programme, and the earlier response to the pandemic. “The sooner implementation takes place, the quicker the cost savings will accrue. Any upfront outlay will be minimal in the context of the verified savings the agreement will generate,” she said.
The head of Fórsa’s Health Division, Éamonn Donnelly, said the union expects an early implementation date, particularly for the introduction of new grades and the removing of the first three basic scale points. The next meeting is set for 10th August.
The union has lodged a similar claim for hospital pharmacists working in community settings.