Connolly Hospital nurses to protest over working conditions

Union says staff will seek to highlight ‘unsafe conditions’ on Monday

the nursing staff will protest what they describe as ‘excessive workloads’ and ‘unsafe conditions’ at Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, Dublin. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien

the nursing staff will protest what they describe as ‘excessive workloads’ and ‘unsafe conditions’ at Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, Dublin. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

Nurses in Connolly Hospital will protest outside their place of work on Monday afternoon, calling for services to be restricted and patients to be diverted to private hospitals due to staff shortages.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said that staff members in the Blanchardstown hospital face “excessive workloads” and “unsafe conditions”.

The union claimed that staff are under increased pressure and patient care is being compromised as a result.

In a statement released on Sunday night, the INMO said they have engaged with hospital management to find a resolution, but they are not satisfied with the response.

INMO members called on Connolly Hospital’s management to restrict services, close beds and wards and divert scheduled care to private hospitals. “This action needs to be taken to protect standards of care, patients, and staff,” the statement said.

The union said that although a recent recruitment initiative has had some success, many of these new recruits will not start until 2022.

“Our members have been through a very challenging time and are heading into winter with an increased workload, and Covid still circulating,” said Maurice Sheehan, INMO Industrial Relations Officer.

“Hospital management need to act urgently to keep staff and patients safe. Otherwise, services at the hospital will need to be scaled back to ensure safety for all.”

Mr Sheehan said that management at Connolly Hospital chose to curtail some of their least essential services during the pandemic, and they should do this again.

A nurse working in the hospital, speaking anonymously, said that they have never seen such low morale and high exhaustion among staff.

“The waves of Covid were just so taxing and we are now facing huge volumes of patients coupled with staff shortages. It’s just not right. We’ve such a brilliant team in the hospital but they are at rock bottom.”

The nurse said this is leading to their colleagues either leaving their job or seriously considering leaving. “This tide has to be turned right now or more staff are going to leave the service.”

In response, the HSE said that in the past five years, whole-time equivalent nurses have increased by 15.8 per cent, across all nursing grades and disciplines.

This means there is total of 5,598 whole-time equivalent nurses.

“The HSE has offered all nurse graduates in Ireland permanent contracts of employment in 2020 and 2021,” the HSE said.

“We recruit nursing staff internationally with over 1,000 nurses taking up duty in Ireland this year through the international framework and a further 900 planned for 2022.”