Patients react to nurses’ strike: ‘My appointment has been cancelled but I support them’

Some of the 25,000 patients affected by strike action share their views

Nurses on the picket line at James Connolly Memorial Hospital, Blanchardstown on Wednesday. Photograph:  Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Nurses on the picket line at James Connolly Memorial Hospital, Blanchardstown on Wednesday. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

 

More than 25,000 patients have had appointments cancelled due to strike action by nurses and midwives on Wednesday. In advance of the strike, The Irish Times invited patients to share their views. Here is a representative selection of the submissions we received from readers.

Rachel: ‘I totally support the nursing staff’

I receive an infusion every four weeks, and have done so for many years, to control my rheumatoid arthritis. If I do not receive this infusion promptly I end up in a great deal of pain, and also find daily life extremely difficult. I cannot praise the nursing staff enough for their unfailing dedication and commitment to their vocation. I have, on many occasions, witnessed nursing staff going without lunch breaks, skipping days off, even running down corridors, to treat patients. I received a phone call last week to notify me that my appointment for the 30th had been cancelled. I totally support the nursing staff and will await a later appointment.

Joy Marksingson: ‘My appointment for an operation was cancelled’

My appointment for an operation was cancelled. I’m very sad about it. I hope the nurses get what they are asking for soon; it is sad that the Government does not care. Restore pay please so the rest of us can be healthy.

Niamh, Galway: ‘We’ve been waiting four months for this appointment’

My daughter’s appointment has been postponed. We’ve been waiting four months for it but I support the nurses in their strike and am delighted that they have rescheduled it for two days later so we are not waiting any longer than necessary.

Amy Mc Atackney: ‘Nobody can blame them’

It’s unfortunate my first appointment was cancelled due to these strikes, but what’s more unfortunate and disappointing is the way these nurses and midwives are treated by our country. They are the hardest working people and should be paid a lot more. Nobody can blame them for going on strike.

Una McGrath: ‘My mother’s colonoscopy was cancelled’

My mother’s colonoscopy was cancelled after being on a waiting list for eight months.

Fiona Ryan, Cork: ‘I feel extremely angry’

I had an appointment for genetic screening for the BRCA1 gene mutation that dramatically increases the risk of cancer. I fully support the nurses. I’m a local councillor for Cork City Council for Solidarity. I haven’t spoken about this prior to the strike as I feel extremely angry at patients like myself being used as a stick to beat the nurses who have been forced into action. They’re fighting for the future of our public service.

Grainne Ni Fh, Dublin: ‘The nurses deserve better’

Consultant wanted to book an induction for me on the 30th, but it was suggested he book the 31st instead. I was completely happy with this decision. Of course the nurses and midwives will be taking spontaneous cases on the 30th but it’s no problem for me to go a day later. I fully support the amazing work the nurses and midwives do, and hope that they are given better conditions. They deserve it a million times over.

Rebecca Tomney, Dublin: ‘Nurses are completely undervalued’

I was due a six-weekly infusion on the 30th. Nurses rearranged all appointments so not one patient misses out. They’ll be manic catching up on the other four days, but care about their patients and won’t see us suffer. This is why I fully support their action on the 30th. I’ve recently had a son who in his six months of life has been in hospital for four of them. Nurses are completely undervalued.

Christy Storey, Limerick: ‘I watched nurses working long hours’

My appointments were cancelled twice on September 20th and November 15th 2018. I still support the nurses. When I was staying in the hospital for five nights, I watched these nurses work long hours, some starting at 7.30am were still there until 9.30pm at night, some wards were ringing other wards to see if they had any spares nurses to do the night shift because of staff shortages, and they still had smiles on their faces after a 15 hour-shift. But you could tell they love their job.

Trudy English: ‘My 36-week maternity appointment will be cancelled’

It’s is likely that if the planned strike action goes ahead my 36-week maternity appointment will be cancelled or rescheduled. Nurses and midwives deserve the same recognition as their professional peers in OT, physio etc, financially for the Trojan efforts that they continue to contribute despite working in under-staffed, under-resourced and stressful environments on a 24/7/365 basis. Every nurse and midwife I have personally interacted with has demonstrated the utmost empathy and professionalism, even if every conversation begins and ends with an apology about the state of services.

Belinda Higgins, Dublin: ‘This is a massive inconvenience’

I had a clinic appointment and received notification last week that it has been cancelled. This is a massive inconvenience to me as I had arranged a babysitter and my husband had taken time off to drive me to my appointment. It also leads to added stress as I now have to wait even longer for tests and then results. I blame the Government 100 per cent. Nurses work beyond their job descriptions and not only deserve pay restoration, but a large increase. The Government had no qualms paying unsecured bond holders billions of euros that they were not entitled to, but won’t pay nurses who work so hard a decent wage. I am totally in support of the nurses striking, if it is the only way to make the Government listen.

Aisling Tiernan: ‘I’m fully supportive of the strike’

I had a dental extraction surgery planned which is cancelled. I’m fully supportive of the nurse strike. It’s the poor staff levels and HSE service that will delay rescheduling of same.

Niamh Bambrick: ‘The service is not fit for purpose’

My father waited for two and half years to have a day procedure, only for it to be cancelled the day before. Then he had to wait another eight months to be rescheduled. This had absolutely nothing to do with the nurses strike, and everything to do with a failing health service. A service which as a result of cuts from successive governments, is now not fit for purpose.

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