HSE does U-turn on expenses
EXPENSES will be paid to health workers on time this month following a U-turn by the HSE last night.
In a controversial move, it had decided to withhold around €15m in travel and subsistence incurred by staff in October and November until early January.
The HSE told trade unions that the plan was a result of its financial position and that it had to stay within this year's budget.
But last night following a meeting between Health Minister James Reilly and the head of the HSE, a decision was made that the money would be paid.
The IMPACT trade union welcomed the move.
"Health staff are working hard to cut costs and maintain services, but they can't be expected to meet the costs of running vital community health services out of their own pockets," a statement said.
The issue had provoked anger among health unions whose members would be affected, with threats by some unions to ballot for strike action.
At the meeting yesterday the minister said he did not support the withholding of travel and subsistence payments.
In a statement issued following the meeting, the department said the payments would be made when they fall due.