Hospital staff in Co Louth to take industrial action from later this month

Fórsa says dispute centres on job losses and staffing levels

Fórsa  said  it was concerned at growing shortages of health and social care professionals at Our Lady of Lourdes hospital in Drogheda, Co Louth. file photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Fórsa said it was concerned at growing shortages of health and social care professionals at Our Lady of Lourdes hospital in Drogheda, Co Louth. file photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

Industry Correspondent

Clerical and administrative staff as well as health and social care professional personnel in Louth County Hospital in Dundalk and at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda are to take industrial action from Thursday, August 29th.

The trade union Fórsa which represents the personnel concerned said the dispute centred on job losses and staffing levels.

Fórsa said the staff would refuse to cover the work of vacant posts unless management filled two positions from which temporary staff were recently removed.

The union also wants the threat of job losses, which it said was currently hanging over another 12 temporary staff, to be lifted.

The union said it was seeking an agreement that the posts would be made permanent. It said it also wanted to see “the filling of vacant health and social care professional posts, where staff shortages have soared by nearly 30 percent this year”.

The industrial action is not expected to have a direct impact on patients.

Fórsa also said on Wednesday that it was concerned at growing shortages of health and social care professionals at Our Lady of Lourdes hospital which, it maintained, were undermining hospital capacity. It said health and social care professionals included pharmacy staff, dietitians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists, as well as cardiology and respiratory specialists.

The union says the recent expansion of beds at the hospital had exacerbated pharmacy staff shortages. It said these had jumped by 40 per cent since April.

Fórsa official Barry Cunningham said the continuing and growing staff shortages, and management’s failure to respond to them, were actively undermining hospital services for the entire region.

“Senior managers at the hospital have adopted the ostrich strategy, sticking their heads in the sand and hoping this growing problem will go away. That’s not good enough for staff or patients, who deserve to see the full benefits of the recent €30 million investment in the hospital. This welcome investment has provided new wards and theatres, but not the staff required to deliver the full range of services. It’s just empty corridors and under-used equipment,” he said.