'Enough is enough' - nurses hold protest over HSE staffing 'crisis'
Nurses who are members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) have held a protest at Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, the latest in a series to highlight unsafe staffing levels and overcrowding.
They gathered at the main entrance to the hospital at lunchtime yesterday.
Nurses fear that the number of patients without hospital beds this winter could reach record levels, and are calling on the HSE to deliver a plan to cope.
Protests have already taken place this month in Cork, Galway, Limerick, Kilkenny and Cavan.
Jade Gannon (30), from Hartstown, Clonsilla, Dublin - who is in Connolly Hospital training in her final year - joined colleagues to call for action.
A fourth-year student general nurse, Ms Gannon felt that the Government needs to take action to make pay and conditions more attractive for nurses who want to stay here.
"The Government needs to acknowledge what is going on, and not just ignore it any more. We have voices and enough is enough," she said.
"It is simple. The solution to it all is simple so why are they making it so hard?"
She is a mature student and some of her younger classmates are planning on going to places like Australia where conditions are better for graduates.
Ms Gannon said that nurses here are "overworked and underpaid".
"We are not asking for mad money. Just something that we can live on," she said.
The INMO has called on the HSE to publish a funded workforce plan, setting out how many new nurses and midwives it will aim to hire in 2018.
"This is a health service in crisis," said INMO general secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha.
She said the HSE must publish a realistic winter plan and commit to ending the near-permanent crisis in Irish hospitals.
"This should include immediate measures to recruit and retain nurses through a pay rise. Otherwise under-staffing will only get worse," she added.
The HSE did not immediately respond to a request for a comment.