The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) is to ballot members on industrial action at the coronary care unit (CCU) in Cork University Hospital (CUH) as part of its continuing campaign over staffing levels.
Voting is to take place this week on potential action, which the union has previously said could include strikes, over the situation at the facility. Nurses at the intensive care unit in University Hospital Limerick began balloting on similar action last week.
“Significant issues exist when it comes to safe staffing levels and an appropriate skill mix in the coronary care unit in CUH,” said INMO’s assistant director of industrial relations, Colm Porter. “Our members here are working in a highly pressurised environment, often falling short of being able to provide recommended safe nurse-to-patient ratios.
“Management at Cork University Hospital have failed to provide an appropriate plan to mitigate against the nurse and skill mix deficits in the CCU. A ballot will take place this week, and we will notify hospital management of the outcome upon completion.”
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In January, the union began a nationwide process of consultation with its members over working conditions in hospitals in an attempt to highlight the issue of overcrowding. The union’s executive council subsequently approved ballots for industrial action in workplaces considered to be unsafe.
At that time, INMO general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said that the process of talking to hospitals on an individual basis would continue but that where the concerns of its members were not addressed, ballots on industrial action would proceed.
“What we’ve said to employers is there’s an expectation that they keep their staff safe,” she said. “They must have the current staffing numbers to deal with the number of and volume of patients that they’re providing care to, otherwise it’s unsafe.”