Wednesday 23 May 2018

Nurses strike looks set to be called off after agreement reached

Strikes were arranged in response to understaffing and overcrowding in seven hospitals
Strikes were arranged in response to understaffing and overcrowding in seven hospitals
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The threatened nurses' strike in seven hospitals on Thursday looks set to be called off after marathon talks on a new agreement to alleviate emergency department overcrowding.

The talks between the Health Service Executive and the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation ended this morning with an agreed set of proposals between both sides.

The proposals aim to give more guarantees to nurses that a series of measures will kick in when overcrowding in emergency departments reaches a serious level.

These measures, known as escalation procedures, involve consultants doing more ward rounds to discharge patient and the cancellation of patients on waiting lists due to be admitted for operations.

Read More: Nurses must allow trolleys on wards

However, nurses were incensed last week that some hospitals were not following the procedures  as trolley numbers escalated to 550.

The talks at the Workplace Relations Commission which began on Saturday aimed to ensure stricter systems are put in place to ensure the these measures are triggered across all hospitals on a consistent basis.

The proposals will mean more accountability from managers and will involve weekly meetings at hospital level between the chief executive, senior managers, Director of Nursing and nursing union representatives to review how they have been applied.

Read More: Progress in talks to avert strike by nurses

There will also be meetings of senior managers at hospital group level.

The proposals will also see greater clarification of the role of nurses who are to receive promotion under the new deal.This will give them a greater say in the running of emergency departments.

Nursing chief Liam Doran said he will bring the proposals to his executive committee today to assess  if they are workable.It is likely this will result in the strike being deferred.

The proposals will be put to a ballot of nurses.

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