Nurses vote to strike over extra ward beds
Published 17/06/2010 | 05:00
ONE of the busiest hospitals in the country faces chaos next week due to industrial action over overcrowding.
Around 800 members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) have voted overwhelmingly to begin a work-to-rule at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.
It will start next Thursday and continue until management reverses what the union describes as an "unsafe" decision to put extra beds in wards.
The union claims it has put the beds in unsuitable locations, including behind doors and in the middle of wards.
The union said the crisis arose when management recently removed 62 inpatient beds by shutting a renal ward, a day surgical ward and an admissions lounge.
It said it then put up to 17 extra beds in inpatient wards to deal with overcrowding in the emergency department.
The union said the industrial action should have no impact on patient care as nurses would only refuse to perform management and administrative duties, such as attending meetings.
But Beaumont Hospital said the union's concern with patient safety took no account of the safety of patients and staff in the emergency department, as the extra ward beds were a response to overcrowding there.