Friday 20 April 2018

Hospital strikes off - but too late to halt ops chaos

Eilish O'Regan and Adam Cullen

A SERIES of two-hour nurses' strikes across seven hospitals were last night postponed after last-ditch talks.

However, the dramatic development came too late for many patients, whose operations were cancelled in the run-up to the A&E walk-outs planned by nurses for today.

The action was deferred to January 12 after last-ditch talks between the HSE and the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), who are expected to ballot on a new set of proposals.

"There has been a significant number of offers put on the table so it is a big decision to make," an INMO source told the Irish Independent last night.

"So this decision is up to us members to make - hence it is being postponed. There has to be a ballot now amongst members to see if there is enough being offered."

The threatened action led to the cancellation of scores of operations for waiting list patients who were caught up in the row.

Hospitals had contacted the patients - many of whom have already been on long waiting lists - in recent days in order to tell them their procedures could not go ahead as a result of the action.

The hospitals earmarked for strikes in emergency departments were Beaumont and Tallaght in Dublin, Waterford, Tullamore, Cavan, Mercy Hospital in Cork, and Galway.

The new proposals to be put to members will focus on health and safety, recruitment and retention, and minimising ED overcrowding, and lengthy waits on trolleys.

Significantly, the plan provides for a special team of nurses to look after patients waiting on trolleys until hospital beds become available.

Issues facing undergraduate and newly graduated nurses in relation to pay and incremental credit will also be considered by an independent chair.

Irish Independent

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