Nurses will not carry out medical duties if IMO strike goes ahead

Non-consultant hospital doctors planning stoppage next Wednesday

INMO general secretary Liam Doran

INMO general secretary Liam Doran


Nurses have said they will not take on duties normally carried out by medical colleagues in hospitals if the planned strike by non-consultant hospital doctors (NCHDs) goes ahead next week.

As part of its dispute, the doctors are seeking an immediate end to shifts running to more than 24 hours and are also looking for the HSE to agree a detailed plan on achieving compliance with EU rules on working hours.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) today promised support for the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) in its dispute with health service management over working hours.

Following talks at the LRC today, the IMO and the HSE have considered proposals for a roster verification process, the objective of which is to determine whether rosters in place at local hospital level do not exceed a maximum 24 hour shift for NCHDs.

In a statement this evening, the IMO said both parties had agreed to visit two pilot sites on Thursday and to reconvene at the LRC on Friday.

“The IMO remains committed to ensuring the demands of NCHDs are met which is to put an end to illegal working hours in an agreed timeframe and ensure an end to shifts in excess of 24 hours,” it said.

Commenting on the talks, Eric Young, assistant director of industrial relations said: “It is critical that any proposals agreed be subject to a rigorous verification process agreed by both parties, we can only commit to proposals which can be verified at each stage of implementation”

The IMO said while it would “make every effort” to engage proactively in the LRC process, plans for strike action on September 25th continue.

The INMO strongly criticised the HSE for failing to implement European rules governing the maximum working week.

The INMO said that in response to a request by the IMO for backing, its executive council had decided unanimously “to advise its members not to do the work normally carried out by doctors on the day of the dispute”.

INMO general secretary, Liam Doran said:

“The HSE is clearly in breach of both Irish and EU law and is exposing the State to very substantial fines, from the EU, for their continuing failure to implement the law having breached all deadlines. It is unacceptable that they have now forced doctors into dispute in order to achieve safe working hours and protect patients. Nurses and midwives stand firmly with their medical colleagues and will not do anything to undermine the dispute.”

“We have, under the Haddington Road Agreement, worked with the IMO to offer potential solutions, but the HSE has shown little or no interest so far. Nurses and midwives can be part of the solution but this Organisation will not allow them to be used to undermine the IMO in their legitimate dispute”.

The IMO is planning a national strike by non-consultant hospital doctors on September 25th.