Talks continue in bid to avert strike by nurses
Emergency department overcrowding and staffing are central issues ahead of planned work stoppage
Aside from alleviating the number of patients on trolleys, the INMO is also seeking assurances over staffing arrangements following repeated calls to intensify the recruitment of nurses for emergency departments
Nursing union chiefs and representatives from the HSE were locked in discussions late last night in a bid to avert a proposed strike by emergency department nurses this Thursday.
The talks at the Workplace Relations Commission began on Saturday morning, and ran late into Sunday evening amid the prospect of rolling two-hour work stoppages across seven emergency departments this week.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has called for firmer action to be taken on the topic of hospital overcrowding, and the union’s members last week voted to reject a deal previously brokered at the Workplace Relations Commission which sought to address the issue.
Aside from alleviating the number of patients on trolleys the INMO is also seeking assurances over staffing arrangements following repeated calls to intensify the recruitment of nurses for emergency departments.
The number of patients on trolleys and on wards awaiting admission to a hospital bed stood at 427 on Thursday and 423 on Friday morning as hospitals struggle to cope with heightened demand during the winter period.
The hospitals where nurses are scheduled to strike on Thursday include Dublin’s Beaumont and Tallaght hospitals; University Hospital Galway; the Midland Regional Hospital in Tullamore; Mercy University Hospital in Cork; Cavan General Hospital and University Hospital Waterford.
The INMO had been due to push ahead with a similar series of industrial actions prior to Christmas but disruption was avoided as union leaders agreed to put new proposals before members following last-ditch talks at the Workplace Relations Commission.
Hundreds of non-urgent appointments and procedures have already been cancelled in anticipation of the possible strike.