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HSE’s plans to procure staff messaging service remain shelved

The HSE’s plans to procure a new messaging service for staff remain shelved and its policy allowing usage of WhatsApp is still in place. Last June, the Medical Independent (MI) reported that the HSE had halted plans for a tender to provide a messaging service – similar to WhatsApp – for its staff following approval by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

MI also reported that the HSE had changed its policy on WhatsApp usage and was encouraging staff to download WhatsApp “to your HSE smartphone” so it could be used “in certain circumstances”. In an update, a HSE spokesperson told MI that the “guidance as to WhatsApp usage published on HSE.ie still stands”.

On the procurement process for a new messaging system, the spokesperson said that “the HSE ICT department has been fully focused on the response to the Covid-19 pandemic and this issue has not been a priority”.

The HSE has information on a webpage on how to use WhatsApp. “You can now download WhatsApp to your HSE smartphone or device and use it for messaging, audio or video call,” according to the website.

“WhatsApp will be available for the duration of the Covid-19 outbreak. When using WhatsApp for work, we must
abide by the HSE’s data protection policies and procedures.”

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