Striking nurses will walk out of A&Es in gridlock-hit hospitals
Striking nurses will target some of the hospitals worst hit by the trolley crisis next month when they walk out of emergency departments in protest at "intolerable" overcrowding conditions.
The hospitals that will suffer two-hour rolling work stoppages were named last night: Beaumont and Tallaght in Dublin, University Hospital Galway, Waterford Hospital, Mercy Hospital in Cork, Cavan Hospital and Tullamore Hospital.
The strike, which will take place on Tuesday December 14, follows yesterday's overwhelming vote in favour of strike action by emergency department nurses in the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).
Further strikes are planned for mid-January followed by a nationwide walk-out if measures demanded by the nurses to reduce the ongoing gridlock are not delivered.
Some of the country's sickest patients will suffer serious disarray as the hospitals will be forced to go off emergency call for much of the day.
INMO general secretary Liam Doran said the walk-out would be confined to emergency department nurses and they would maintain a standby contingency crew in the event of a major accident.
He warned: "The campaign is being taken as a last resort after 10 years of discussions and broken promises. It is necessary as a direct result of the failure of government and health service management over many years to recognise this overcrowding crisis and to allocate the necessary resources to properly address it.
"Our members will no longer tolerate having to go to work every day and face constant overcrowding where both the care of patients and the health and wellbeing of staff is compromised without anyone in authority seeming to recognise the consequences."
Talks on contingency measures will take place with the HSE tomorrow.
INMO president Claire Mahon, pictured, warned her colleagues cannot give patients the care they want to deliver because of the conditions.
The union is demanding a range of measures including the hiring of another 200 nurses for emergency departments. A further 100 are needed to specifically look after patients who are lying on trolleys waiting for a bed after a doctor had deemed they should be admitted.
Mr Doran insisted there were still not enough attractive packages for nurses to incentivise them to take the jobs and these need to be addressed including pay, workload and professional development.
Talks are expected to take place with the HSE to try to avert the action.
Health Minister Leo Varadkar said: "The INMO ballot is disappointing particularly when we are starting to see the emergency department task force plan taking effect. While there is a long way to go, there are 20pc fewer people on trolleys than on this day last year."
He insisted that "197 hospital beds have opened nationally since October with another 44 due in the next two weeks. There are also 759 more nurses in the health service than this time last year. Industrial action won't get a single patient off a trolley and we should all be focused on implementing the plan. Negotiations between the INMO and the HSE will take place under the Workplace Relations Commission."