Saturday 14 December 2019

A&E nurses call off strike action threat and vote in favour of peace deal

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Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Nurses have called off their threat of strike action after voting in favour of a peace deal aimed at alleviating emergency department overcrowding.

The results of a ballot announced by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) today showed a vote of 71pc to 29pc in favour of the agreement worked out last month at the Workplace Relations Commission.

Despite the agreement which allows for measures such as cancellation of operations and other measures to be triggered when trolley congestion reaches as certain level, overcrowding has persisted with the flu cases piling on more pressure.

INMO chief Liam Doran said today:"This re-affirms our members absolute commitment  to their patients  and ensuring their safe care."

The revised proposals accepted by the nurses include:

·  senior management weekly meetings, with INMO Emergency Department Representatives, to monitor implementation of the agreement and, in particular, the revised escalation policy to avoid ED overcrowding.

·  enhanced health and safety and risk management/mitigation measures which clearly acknowledge that Emergency Department overcrowding leads to an unsafe work environment which must be addressed and mitigated.

An earlier deal in December also offered nurses bursaries for further education and also more promotions.

There were 332 patients on trolleys nationwide today which is lower than normal. However, there are often almost 500 patients waiting for a bed with over 120 languishing for more than nine hours on a trolley.

The worst hit hospital today was University Hospital Limerick where 37 were waiting for a bed. Beaumont Hospital and St Vincents Hospitals in Dublin were also struggling.

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