NURSES have warned they will not take over the duties of junior hospital doctors if a threatened all-out strike by the trainee medics goes ahead next week.
The pledge of support came as talks opened at the Labour Relations Commission between the HSE and the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) in a bid to resolve the dispute over the long hours worked by junior doctors.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) piled the pressure on hospital managers saying that they will work as normal and not step in to do any of the doctors’ work.
The doctors are warning of an all out strike on Wednesday unless they get an agreement that no medic will have to work more than 24 hours at a time and the 48 hour week will be in place by the end of next year.
Around one in three junior doctors is currently working shifts in excess of 24 hours, down from 58pc in March, ccording to the HSE.
INMO general secretary, Liam Doran said:“The HSE is clearly in breach of both Irish and EU law and is exposing the State to very substantial fines, from the EU, for their continuing failure to implement the law having breached all deadlines.
“ It is unacceptable that they have now forced doctors into dispute in order to achieve safe working hours and protect patients. Nurses and midwives stand firmly with their medical colleagues and will not do anything to undermine the dispute.”
“We have, under the Haddington Road Agreement, worked with the IMO to offer potential solutions, but the HSE has shown little or no interest so far. Nurses and midwives can be part of the solution but this Organisation will not allow them to be used to undermine the IMO in their legitimate dispute”.