Tuesday 20 February 2018

Operations are cancelled due to strikes in A&Es

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Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Scores of patients on waiting lists, who were due to be admitted to hospitals, are having surgery cancelled on Monday and Tuesday due to nurses' strikes.

The action will see rolling two-hour stoppages by nurses on Tuesday in the A&E departments of seven hospitals between 8am and 4pm.

Although nurses in other parts of the hospitals will continue to work as normal, services are being scaled down for safety reasons.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) says members are protesting at overcrowding and the failure by employers to meet a series of payment demands, which nurses insist are essential to recruit and retain staff.

While all the A&Es will remain open during the walk-outs, patients should attend their GP or pharmacist in the first instance.

Waiting times and trolley queues at A&Es in other hospital may also be longer as they cope with patient overflow.

A spokesman for Cavan Hospital - part of the RSCI hospital group - said non-urgent surgery may be cancelled but that day cases would proceed as normal.

The hospital is also discharging patients over the weekend where it is clinically safe to do so. People whose procedures are cancelled are being contacted.

Disruption may persist through the day in Tallaght Hospital in Dublin and Tullamore Hospital, said a spokeswoman. The hospitals are part of the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group.

Some waiting list patients due for admission to Tallaght and Tullamore Hospitals are having surgery cancelled.

Both A&Es will be open during the stoppage but other hospitals in the group are likely to feel some of the brunt.

A spokesman for the Mercy Hospital in Cork said its A&E will be open during the 8am to 10am stoppage. He urged patients with minor injuries to attend its urgent care centre on the St Mary's campus, which is not affected.

Nurses will remain on standby in all affected hospitals and will return to work in the event of a major emergency.

Meanwhile, a major gulf remains between the union and the HSE, following the ending of talks at the Workplace Relations Commission on Wednesday.

The union accused management of making "no specific proposals" to improve recruitment and retention of nurses and denied that its demands amounted to a pay claim.

But the HSE's head of human resources, Rosarii Mannion, said it could not breach the Lansdowne agreement. The HSE has started a process to examine pay.

Asked about incentives to attract nurses, she said the HSE remained open to anything "in our gift". Progress was made in areas of health and safety, she added and appealed for a return to talks.

Irish Independent

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