Friday 9 December 2016

Nurses to strike in seven hospital A&E departments next Thursday

Published 07/01/2016 | 16:09

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The planned nurses strike in seven hospital emergency departments is to go ahead next Thursday.

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Members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) today refused to pull back from the threat which is set to heap more misery on emergency services already struggling with overcrowding.

The strike will involve two-hour stoppages in the seven emergency departments from 8am to 4pm.

The decision was made by an executive committee of the union today and follows the results of this week’s ballot which rejected settlement deal which had been recommended for acceptance.

Nurses who attended the meeting at the union’s headquarters today said they had no faith in management implementing proposals to ease overcrowding.

This was borne out by the escalation in trolley gridlock in several hospitals this week, they insisted.The hospitals earmarked for stoppages include Beaumont in Dublin, Mercy University Hospital in Cork, Tallaght Hospital, Cavan General Hospital, University Hospital Waterford, Tullamore Hospital and University Hospital, Galway.

The HSE said it is still hopeful that further talks can take place to reassure the nurses.

Health Minister Leo Varadkar said he was disappointed the INMO decided to reject the proposals brokered by the WRC by a margin of 58pc to 42pc.

Strike action during the busiest time of the year will not resolve overcrowding, but will compromise patient safety, he warned.

“First of all, I should say that the number of people on trolleys has gone down today. It’s down about to about 230 this afternoon, but obviously increases again overnight. If you compare the first seven days of this year with last year, we’re down about 15pc. For those waiting more than nine hours, we’re down 28pc," he said.

“But we’re still nowhere near where we need to be, and we’ve managed to reduce the level of overcrowding through investment in nursing homes, homecare, 200 additional hospital beds and investment in primary care to keep people out of hospitals in the first place.”

“What’s very evident to me is that in order to get on top of this problem, we need to stay in investment in primary care, social care and hospitals over five years. This is going to take quite some time and quite a lot of investment to resolve.”

“The strike would make a bad situation worse. Having said that, I understand the frustration of the Emergency Department nurses I visited – I visited seven emergency departments so far this week and spoken to them. There is certainly a lack of trust that things will ever change, and I understand where that comes from."

"Overcrowding might be down between 15 and 20pc on this time last year, but to a nurse on a ward, that’s the difference between eight trolleys and 10."

"It doesn’t seem like a huge difference. But there will be discussions with the union involving the HSE and my department. We will do everything we can do avert this strike because of their estimations.”

INMO chief Liam Doran said: "It is quite clear that, in rejecting these proposals, our members were stating that they had no confidence in senior management, at local level, to implement the proposed measures on a continuous basis."

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