Feedback awaited following local meetings with AIB

first_img“It will be very difficult to attract investment without a bank.”RESIDENTS groups from county towns affected by the pending closure of AIB branches are awaiting feedback following meetings with senior management in which cases for the retention of the banks were put forward.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up AIB took the decision to close eight branches in Limerick city and county by the end of next year, but locals have refused to lie down under the move.Following a public meeting, it was decided that five concerned Foynes residents would meet with the manager of the Newcastle West branch, James Stanton, and the regional manager, Gene McPolin.One of the representatives, Margaret O’Shaughnessy, Director of the Foynes Flying Boat Museum said:“The managers came to us in Foynes and we presented them with a 12 point argument as to why the closure of the local branch should be reconsidered.Speaking to the Limerick Post she added:“If the closures go ahead there will be only one branch on the N69 between Listowel and Limerick, a 63km stretch, while the N21 has one in every town.“Foynes is a major port town and there are huge plans to develop it through the port company but it will be very difficult to attract investment without a bank”.She said that the Foynes branch should have been profitable, with at least 60 local business accounts based there, as well as “countless employees’ personal accounts at the branch.“A mobile bank wouldn’t suffice for our needs and it will be a knock for tourism to not have a branch here.“There are also security issues related to the closure as businesses will have to travel long distances with cash in tow to lodge it.“We asked what savings would be made from closing the branch, as AIB own the building.“We also asked what facilities will be provided at the post office, because we have yet to hear of details of this arrangement”.Ms. O’Shaughnessy said that the group had been happy to have the initial meeting and to be listened to but understood that it would be some time before feedback would be received from the bank.Representatives of the Drumcollogher branch of the AIB also met with officials. Print Advertisement Facebook Email Linkedincenter_img WhatsApp Twitter NewsLocal NewsFeedback awaited following local meetings with AIBBy admin – August 29, 2012 735 Previous articleNo decision yet on the implementation of a property tax – NoonanNext articleManager makes new appointments adminlast_img read more

Blazing the trail

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Blazing the trailOn 1 Jul 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article The Occupational Health Unit of South Wales Fire Serviceinitiated a six-week course of psycho-education to raise awareness of stresstriggers in the course of firemen’s everyday work. It helped attendees identifynormal level of stress, by Lyndon Davies The management and prevention of occupational stress and caring for thepsychological well being of staff is a major challenge facing occupationalhealth professionals. Employers have a legal, economic and ethical responsibility to manage healthand safety in the workplace and relevant legislation includes the Health andSafety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at WorkRegulations 1999.1,2 Work stress in ageing police officers and A Study of stress and support inthe Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service are two studies that have identifiedthat the potential causes of stress in emergency services result from acombination of organisational, operational and external (personal)stressors.3,4 However, Stress in the Service: who does it affect? suggeststhere is evidence that firefighters do not suffer from occupational stress tothe extent one might think due to inbuilt factors that affect their resilience.5During the financial year 2001-2002, data collected at the OccupationalHealth Unit of South Wales Fire Service demonstrated that 21 per cent of allappointments were devoted to stress and psychological-related consultations. The Brigade introduced a series of innovative stress initiatives, whichincluded a partnership with a NHS Department of Liaison Psychiatry in order torespond to the psychological needs of staff. Through this partnership, the Brigade has been able to implement a stresscontrol course (Stresspac), developed by J White in 2000, Treating Anxiety andStress, following a series of studies.6 White provides eight years of follow-updata on Stresspac’s effectiveness in treating stress and anxiety disorders in aclinical psychology setting.7,8,9,10 The stress control course The six-week course, totalling 12 hours of psycho-education is based uponthe model explained by White, who states that, “Stresspac is a didactic,cognitive behavioural group therapy approach to anxiety disorders. It is arobust six-session ‘evening class’ designed for either small or large-groupformat.” The main aim of the course is to “turn individuals intotheir own therapist”. The course attempts to achieve a compromise between best practice and bestvalue in providing training to a large number of people. It relies heavily onthe written material accompanying the course and issues a comprehensive manual.It encourages students to recognise patterns of distorted thinking anddysfunctional behaviour that may contribute to a state of stress. It introducestechniques that will provide the student with a toolkit to achieve their ownstress control. See the course model shown below. The course is advertised throughout the organisation and students areencouraged to self-refer to develop their ability to manage stress now or inthe future. Students are discouraged from self-disclosure about their ownproblems. Brief outline of sessions Introduction and information aims to provide the framework for thesubsequent sessions. By offering easily understood, personally relevantinformation, employees can begin to understand their problems more readily,making them more open to change. Controlling your body aims to educate employees about the physical effectsof anxiety, to provide a rationale for the use of progressive muscularrelaxation, breathing retraining and aerobic exercise. Controlling your actions aims to educate employees about the effects ofanxiety on behaviour and behaviour on anxiety. It provides a rationale for theuse of exposure therapy where avoidance is a problem and other behaviouraltechniques within a cognitive behavioural framework. Controlling your panic and sleep problems aims to educate employees aboutthe nature of panic and insomnia and how to assess and control them. Thetreatment uses stimulus control techniques along with sleep hygiene advice andthe cognitive and relaxation approaches previously learned on the course. Controlling your depression and the future aims to educate about the natureof depression and how to assess and control it. It revisits key elements fromprevious weeks during this session, tying the whole course together.Participants should now feel they have the ability to continue assessing andcontrolling their own problems. However, it is recognised that in somesituations additional contact with a therapist will be required. The extent of stress as a problem in the sample group It emerged that 42 per cent of the group did not feel they were sufferingfrom the harmful effects of stress, whereas 58 per cent felt that stress wasnegatively affecting their health. Twenty-nine per cent believed their stress was purely work-related, 4 percent that their stress was purely non work-related (personal problems) and 25per cent felt their stress was caused through a combination of both work andnon-work related factors. Of students who returned the qualitative assessment questionnaire, 57 percent did not regard themselves as suffering from any of the psychologicalconditions listed – for example, depression, panic disorder, fear or phobia orother. Although 42.9 per cent of the sample perceived they were suffering fromdepression and/or panic disorder, only 17 per cent had been diagnosed and werebeing treated for their condition with medication under the supervision oftheir GP. This may support theories that an individual’s perception plays amajor role in stress.6,11,12,13 There is a perception among these individuals that they are depressed,although there is no evidence of clinical confirmation of this. Student opinions in relation to the course Students were asked to provide a series of opinions on a scale of 1-10 (1being no benefit and 10 being of most benefit). Students gave a favourable score of 7.6 that Stresspac had helped andbenefited them. Students provided similar opinions on the value and usefulnessof each session on a scale of 1-10. The general opinion seen in Table 1 demonstrates that students favour thecourse and believed it to be beneficial. It appears that the most usefulsessions were weeks 2 and 3, with all other sessions displaying a mean studentopinion score of 6.5. The author believes the likely explanation for this pattern is that weeks 2and 3 are probably the most applicable to the majority of individuals whorelate to stress. Students are taught relaxation and thought-challengingtechniques that are easily adaptable to general stress and anxiety. Subsequentsessions on controlling actions, panic, insomnia and depression may not beapplicable to all students at this stage. It was established that only 14.3 percent admitted to suffering from depression and panic attacks. Students were then asked three questions to provide the author with theiropinions on how applicable was the course in relation to their own personalstress. Examples of student comments include: – “I found it useful to address my reaction to stress. I now understandmuch more about stress/depression and how to help myself on any bad days”.– “I have a more confident feel to my life. I find it easier to cope. Istill slip back occasionally but I bounce back quicker”. – “I was suffering from crippling anxiety prior to the course and now Ifeel normal. Stresspac is a toolbox which helps sufferers to control thesituation – but it takes time and effort to learn how best to use thetools”. Similar comments were echoed in other responses, reinforcing the view thatthat the course is well received by students. They were then asked to givetheir opinion on a scale of 1-10 (1 = no stress, 10 = high stress) on theirstress level pre-Stresspac, compared to that on the three-month follow-up.Examples of comments include: – “I found Stresspac very beneficial. The techniques were easy tofollow as well as being easy to implement.” – “I thought challenging and breathing control has enabled me to facesituations previously I would have avoided. Most people suffer some degree ofstress in everyday life. Explaining what it is and how to cope, and thepitfalls could help someone avoid falling too far.” Many commented that they obtained comforting reassurance and peer supportfrom attending with other colleagues. It would appear that individuals realised ‘they are not alone’ in theirstress and many of the reactions experienced are ‘normal’ symptoms of stressthat can be controlled. Large mixed groups are advantageous in assisting individuals to normalisesymptoms and change their negative perceptions surrounding stress. Mixed groups will also contribute to the acceptance and understanding ofstress in a ‘macho cultured’ organisation such as the Fire Service. Manyexpressed views, for example: “It was a wonderful relief that I was notalone in my distress”, reinforcing this point. Individuals who attended complaining of insomnia prior to the course,reported improvements in their sleep patterns by the three-month follow-upstage. Those who did not particularly suffer from stress reactions commentedthey had found the problem-solving techniques and coping strategies useful inhelping them organise busy days, preventing potential stress reactions. Although not elaborated upon in this article, statistically significantevidence was obtained from clinical measures completed under the supervision ofthe nurse therapist pre–course and repeated post-course and on three monthsfollow-up. Highly significant improvements were seen in the Beck DepressionInventory II,14 A Users Guide to the General Health Questionnaire,15 and Lifeand Social Adjustments Scale.16 Conclusion These results support the view that the self-help cognitive-behaviouralpackage is significantly effective in assisting staff to manage and controltheir general stress and anxiety and that students continue to see benefits atthe three-month follow-up stage, suggesting that the course is beneficial inpreventing relapse. Implementation of Stresspac as an evening class allows many staff to attendfrom various disciplines within the Brigade. This has a normalising effect, asstress affects many individuals in many ways and at different times of theirlives. The social aspect of the course encourages effective peer support and networkingamong staff. Data obtained so far demonstrates the course has been helpful in reducinganxiety, depression and general health concerns in the majority of individuals.The qualitative data is favourable, producing many examples of positive commentsthat the course was relevant and useful. The course continues to run and it is hoped it will receive a highself-referral rate among staff. It has certainly proved itself to be anexciting, popular and innovative stress control/prevention initiative withinSouth Wales Fire Service. The author believes that as more data becomes available, the credibility ofthe course will be further reinforced and it will benefit greater numbers ofBrigade employees, increasing attendance, efficiency, psychological andphysical wellbeing, morale and ultimately reducing unhelpful stress andanxiety. Lyndon Davies, RGN, BSc (Hons), is the occupational health nurse for theSouth Wales Fire Service. References 1. Health and Safety Executive, A guide to the health and safety at work etcAct 1974: Guidance on the act, HMSO, London, 1990 2.Health and Safety Executive, Management of health and safety at workregulations 1999: Approved code of practice and guidance. HSE Books, Sudbury,2000 3. Gershon RRM, Lin S, Li X, Work stress in ageing police officers. TheJournal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine. 44(2): 160-167, 2002 4. McLeod J, Cooper D, A study of stress and support in the StaffordshireFire and Rescue Service. Staffordshire: Centre for Counselling Studies, 1992 5. Durkin J, Stress in the Service: Who does it affect? Fire. Sept: 52-53,2001 6. White, J, Treating Anxiety and Stress. Chichester: Wiley, 2000 7. White J, Stress Control large group therapy for generalized anxietydisorder: two year follow up. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy. 26:237-245, 1998 8. White J, Stresspac: A three-year follow up of a controlled trial of aself-help package for anxiety disorders. Behavioural and CognitivePsychotherapy. 26: 133-141, 1998 9. White J, Keenan M, Stress Control: A pilot study of large group therapyfor generalised anxiety disorder. Behavioural Psychotherapy. 18: 143-146, 1990 10. White J, Keenan M, Stress Control: A controlled comparativeinvestigation of large group therapy for generalised anxiety disorder.Behavioural Psychotherapy. 20: 97-114, 1992 11. Ellis, P, Surveying for Stress. The RoSPA Occupational Safety &Health Journal. Nov 31 (11): 38-42, 2001 12. Lazarus R S, The stress and coping paradigm. In Eisdorfer C, Cohen D,Kleinman A, Maxim P (Eds). Models for Clinical Psychopathology. New York:Spectrum, 1981 13. Fingret, A, Stress at Work, The Practitioner. 229: 547-55, 1985 14. Beck A T, Steer R A, Brown G K, Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II).The Psychological Corporation, US, 1996 15. Goldberg D, Williams P, A Users Guide to the General HealthQuestionnaire. NFER-Nelson, Windsor, UK, 1988 16. Marks I M, 1986, Behavioural Psychotherapy: Maudsley pocket book ofclinical management, Wright, Bristol last_img read more