Janet Hughes report on

Grading structure & Rostered Leave

 21st May 2003

Ms Gaye Dalton                                                                                                                                Mr Matt Merrigan
H SEA                                                                                                                                              SIPTU
63/64 Adelaide Road                                                                                                                         Liberty Hall
Dublin 2                                                                                                                                             Dublin 1

 RE:           Ambulance Grading Review Dear Gaye/Matt

 I enclose my report in respect of the above. Once again I wish to put on record my dissatisfaction and concern at the lack of engagement on the substance of this issue, particularly on the management side. The status of this report, raised at the very first meeting by SIPTU, was not clarified in spite of my request to the representatives of both sides in March.

 The lack of engagement and the lack of clarity have not assisted in the conduct of what should have been seen as a crucial issue with potential far-reaching consequences having regard to the future development of the service. Notwithstanding these difficulties, which I have found very frustrating, I have endeavoured to present a balanced and reasonable outcome to the review with due regard to all of the verbal and written submissions.

 Yours sincerely

 Janet Hughes




MAY 2003



1.         The Review was agreed by the parties in Clause 9 of the Adjudication Report from Mr Raymond McGee of the Labour Relations Commission in 2001.

 2.         Terms of reference were issued on 13th May 2002:

 “To review the existing structure and make recommendations to the parties on the Ambulance Service, in line with clause 9 above:

·         Consultation will take place with staff and management representatives.

·         Report to be presented to both parties by end of August 2002”.

3.         Formal meetings commenced in November 2002 and concluded in February 2003.

4.         From the outset SIPTU contended that as this Review emerged from an arbitration process, the outcome was binding arbitration. During the Review, the employers contested the SIPTU position. The parties were requested to agree on this matter prior to the issuing of this report. The Report was delayed for some time awaiting a response. SIPTU agreed to a request that this matter be clarified by Raymond McGee LRC who issued the original Arbitration Report. In May HSEA stated that the position of management was that the report be issued in line with the terms of reference.

 5.         On the substantive issue, the grading and structure of the Service, there was absolutely no common ground between the parties. SIPTU submitted a proposed structure and implementation plan, radically different in some respects to the existing structure. Management gave a detailed rejection of the Union proposal and proposed no changes in the existing structure or any element of the structure.




1.         Given the extent of the gaps between the parties and the complete absence of any agreement on a revised structure, it would be inappropriate to impose on the Health Service a radically revised structure.

2.         In some respects, the Union proposal was simply a vehicle for up­grading a large number of members based on service. It is recognised that the Union almost certainly inflated their demands for negotiating purposes — but the management position left no room for negotiation.

3.         Since this Review was originally agreed, Benchmarking has concluded. Some account must be taken of the impact of that process especially in the Ambulance Service in terms of costs. 

4.         With regard to the existing structure, there is a clear disparity in the implementation of the existing structure across the Health Boards. This is apparent not only among the grades of staff covered by this Review, but also among the higher grades.

5.         It is my considered view that the existing grading structure should be maintained but the number of promotional posts should be significantly increased.

a) The ratio of LEMTS to EMTS should be 1: 5 (based on the numbers in these categories set out in the HSEA submission of 13th January 2003).

b) The number of EMCs should be increased to one per shift. Vacancies at this level resulting from the increased allocation over the period to the end of December 2005, to be confined to existing Ambulance Personnel. External recruits to be employed to fill these posts only after December 2005. Any vacancy within the Ambulance Service resulting from a confined competition to be filled.

On the basis of these ratios, the figures per Health Board would be as follows:

                SHB              SEHB               WHB        ECAHB

EMT         126                 120                     120             130

LEMT         25                     24                     24                26


             NEHB              MHB            NWHB        MWHB


EMT         81                     76                    71             109.8


LEMT     16                      15                     14                 22


IN SUMMARY given all of the circumstances of this Review, any fundamental departure from the existing grading structure within the National Ambulance Service would not be appropriate at this time. Such an outcome might follow from an overall operational review of the service alongside the deliberations of HeBE. At the same time, acknowledging the commitment of staff to this Review and the substantial case made by the representatives in certain aspects of their justification for a revised grading structure, there is merit in an increase in the relative promotional vacancies, pending the outcome of an overall Review.


21st  MAY 2003