I propose to take Questions Nos. 292, 415 and 449 together.
The Deputies have raised a number of issues in relation to a Health Sector National Staff Survey which was carried out in 2016 and 2018. The purpose of the surveys was to measure employee sentiment and engagement within the publicly funded Health Sector.
As with all surveys, it raised a number of both positive and negative results. These results have prompted the National Ambulance Service to take a range of measures to address the areas where improvements could be made.
I am clear that bullying or harassment in any workplace must not be tolerated and any such instance must be addressed in accordance with the appropriate grievance and disciplinary policies and procedures. Any employee who experiences or witnesses work place bullying or harassment should be aware that they can report these instances under the Dignity at Work Policy for the Health Service.
The NAS is also developing anti bullying work place initiatives in line with the Positive Workplace Programme and bespoke sessions for the NAS are currently in development. Staff Health & Wellbeing initiatives and programmes are ongoing in the NAS as part of Healthy Ireland including significant focus on staff health initiatives such as mental wellbeing, physical activity, health checks and improving the workplace environment.
There are a number of other ongoing programmes and initiatives being undertaken and supported by the National Ambulance Service. For example, a number of NAS managers across the country have undertaken Leadership Development Programmes including Continuous Quality Improvement courses using the Lean Sigma process.
The NAS has also established a National Staff Engagement Forum as well as local Engagement Networks. The role of the Forum is to create a space for conversations about what matters to staff in terms of engagement and to gather suggestions on how to improve it by building on existing approaches and continually looking for new ways to engage staff.
In addition, the NAS has strengthened representative bodies and increased the number of NAS staff representation in order to provide further regular and scheduled discussion around areas such as improvement in internal and upward communication, raising awareness around dignity at work issues, and health and wellbeing initiatives.