Monday 22 January 2018

Nurses to strike in A&E departments of hospitals worst-hit by overcrowding

Beaumont Hospital
Beaumont Hospital

Eilish O’Regan

NURSES are to go ahead with strikes in A&E departments of some of the hospitals worst-hit by overcrowding on Tuesday after a breakdown in peace talks tonight.

Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation general secretary  Liam Doran confirmed to the Irish Independent the talks with the HSE collapsed after it became clear to union representatives that no meaningful proposals were on the table.

He said there are 144 vacancies for nurses in twelve hospitals and these will not be filled unless realistic incentives are offered.

However, the HSE was not prepared to provide any concrete proposals to either recruit or retain nurses, he added.

It means that hospitals that will suffer two-hour rolling work stoppages from 8am on Tuesday.

They are: Beaumont and Tallaght in Dublin, University Hospital Galway, Waterford Hospital, Mercy Hospital in Cork, Cavan Hospital and Tullamore Hospital.

The rolling two hour stoppages will continue in the A&E departments with nurses walking out and providing only a standby contingency service in the event of a major accident.

Further strikes are planned for mid-January followed by a nationwide walk-out if measures demanded by the nurses to reduce the ongoing gridlock are not delivered.

Some of the country's sickest patients will suffer serious disarray as the hospitals will be forced to go off emergency call for much of the day.

Mr Doran said  the walk-out would be confined to emergency department nurses and they would maintain a standby contingency crew in the event of a major accident.

He warned: "The campaign is being taken as a last resort after 10 years of discussions and broken promises. It is necessary as a direct result of the failure of government and health service management over many years to recognise this overcrowding crisis and to allocate the necessary resources to properly address it.

"Our members will no longer tolerate having to go to work every day and face constant overcrowding where both the care of patients and the health and wellbeing of staff is compromised without anyone in authority seeming to recognise the consequences."

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