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Dublin: 9 °C Friday 6 December, 2019
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HSE staff won't have to work back emergency leave taken during storm

Simon Harris said employees will receive emergency leave with pay.

shutterstock_516817852 Source: Shutterstock/S_L

Updated 8.25am, 1 March 

HSE STAFF WILL not have to make up the hours they take off this week due to the bad weather.

Yesterday it emerged that a memo had been sent to HSE staff saying they would have to use annual leave if they couldn’t make it into work as Storm Emma and the Beast from the East strike the country.

However, Health Minister Simon Harris has now said anyone who cannot get to work or whose work place is closed will “receive emergency leave with pay and will not have to make up time”.

People have been advised to stay indoors if possible as a status red snow-ice warning has been issued for the entire country. Forecasters predict that the whole nation will be hit with blizzard-like conditions.

However, hospital staff will of course be among the workers whose job is to provide essential services to the public during the bad weather.

The HSE has been keeping people updated on its plans for staff and medical services over the next few days.

Some staff have been tweeting about their dedication to their patients during the bad weather:

Yesterday evening the HSE said:

Where staff cannot travel to work while the Met Éireann red alert warning is in place they will be granted emergency leave with pay and by agreement with line manager can make up the time before December 2018.

In a statement, the HSE said it “acknowledged the commitment and resilience of all our staff in maintaining our health and social care services in those areas affected by the severe weather”.

The HSE said it is “continuing to do everything possible to maintain all essential services, particularly services to vulnerable people at home in the community”.

Its National Crisis Management Team was activated on Monday to ensure the organisation was as prepared as possible for the extreme weather event.

The HSE National Crisis Management Team supports the local Area Crisis Management teams around the country who are working diligently to keep services operating and dealing with the various challenges around the severe weather.

Yesterday the HSE said a decision was made that only essential public services would operate today and Friday in the areas where a red warning exists.

In light of this, our Hospital Groups and Community Health Organisations will prioritise critical services and other services will not operate over those two days.

“Our local service managers in those areas will make decisions based on the prevailing weather.”

The HSE said it is endeavouring “to ensure that where appointments, clinics and certain services are cancelled and postponed that our staff contact those affected directly”.

“However, if anyone is due to attend at an appointment in the affected areas over the next two days they should ring in advance and check that it is still going ahead.”

We would also stress that our Hospital Groups and Community Health Organisations are continuing to communicate directly at a local level both through local media outlets and through the above digital and social media channels.

It is appealing to people to check that they are stocked up with any medicines and health care supplies they may need. Where it is safe to do so, it is asking people to consider checking in on elderly or vulnerable members of the community, and to make sure they have supplies of food, fuel, water and medicines.

It is also advising the public to visit its website or Twitter for the latest HSE updates.

With reporting by Órla Ryan

LIVE: Latest transport updates as country prepares for further snowfall tonight>

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