Nurses strike planned for seven hospitals called off

Last-minute deal agreed with new proposals to be the subject of a future ballot

A  strike by nurses in hospital emergency departments planned for Tuesday has been averted.

A strike by nurses in hospital emergency departments planned for Tuesday has been averted.

 

A planned strike by nurses in hospital emergency departments on Tuesday has been averted.

Health sources last night said a deal in relation to the overcrowding dispute had been reached between the HSE and the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).

The new proposals will be the subject of a future ballot.

Even with the two-hour stoppages in the emergency departments called off, hundreds of non-emergency have already been cancelled for today.

Indicators

Workplace Relations Commission

Health sources last night said discussions focused on a package of measures for nurses, including additional promotional opportunities for clinical nurse managers.

The deal includes a proposal for two additional days leave – one next year, and another in 2017 – for nurses in emergency departments.

This additional annual leave in 2016 and 2017 is being officially described as “toil” in lieu of meal breaks.

However, it remains to be seen as to whether this proposed arrangement can be ring fenced for 1,100 emergency department nurses.

It is understood that there may be a proposal for other issues to be dealt with in an accelerated process under an independent adjudicator.

Other issues on the table in the talks included incremental credit and allowances for educational achievements for staff taking up posts in emergency departments, as well as pay for student nurses and promotional appointments in hospitals.

The general secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation Liam Doran said on Tuesday morning that while the deal would address problems in emergency departments it could lead to longer waiting lists for elective admissions.

Nurses working in emergency departments in seven hospitals across the country had planned to stage rolling two-hour strikes in protest at overcrowding.

Hundreds of non-urgent appointments and procedures were cancelled in the seven hospitals as a result of the planned strike, with some knock-on effects in neighbouring hospitals.

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar said that based on the experience during previous emergency department strikes, it was hoped attendances would go down.

Contingency plans were in place to ensure patient safety and life-threatening situations would be dealt with promptly.

He said any agreement could not breach the Lansdowne Road agreement on public service pay.

Disruption

The paediatric emergency department at Tallaght hospital had said it would not be affected by the action.