Hospital chaos looms as nurses vote for industrial action
Nurses have voted by 90pc in favour of industrial action early next year.
The nurses who are members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) are protesting at what they say is a failure to recruit and retain staff, leading to a severe shortage in many hospitals.
The industrial action which is due at the beginning of February will initially involve a work-to-rule and will progress to one day work stoppages.
It will mean nurses will insist on bed closures if there is not enough staff to cater to them.
The nurses are demanding that the HSE improve the incentives available to recruit and retain staff.
The HSE is inviting nurses who are working abroad and home for Christmas to attend walk-in interviews at its headquarters in Dublin after Christmas.
It is estimated that around 150 beds are currently closed due to a lack of staff.
It is also leading to theatre closures and cancellations of operations.
The INMO Executive Council said the union will now write directly to the Minister for Health Mr Simon Harris TD, and the Director General of the HSE Mr Tony O’Brien, calling for immediate round table talks, with an independent chair if necessary, for the purpose of agreeing special measures to address the staffing/recruitment/ retention crisis which continues to grow.
In the absence of the necessary measures being agreed these discussions must identify the services to be curtailed so that service activity is aligned with available staffing levels.
The Council will now issue an instruction, to all branches/units of the Organisation, to establish, campaign committees, in all workplaces to ensure full, and direct, lines of communication with all members.
It will also begin drawing up contingency plans to be initiated if industrial action is commenced.