Tentative relief among patients and staff as dispute suspended

Nurses and their colleagues waiting to hear the fine detail of the pay agreement

 Adele McDermott: ‘For the young people coming in, we have to get this right.’

Adele McDermott: ‘For the young people coming in, we have to get this right.’

 

There was tentative relief among medical staff and patients at James Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, following news that a three-day nurses’ strike had been averted.

Given the timing of the late-night agreement on Monday, many of the nurses and wider staff did not yet know the details of the proposal. About 40,000 nurses are expected to be polled on the proposal in the coming weeks.

Adele McDermott, head of nurse practice development at the James Connolly Hospital, said she had yet to receive a briefing on the proposals. Ms McDermott said emails had been circulating from the INMO but she hoped to get more information as the day went on.

“For the young people coming in, we have to get this right,” she said.

Nurse Karen Gantley said she had heard a figure of 7.3 per cent mentioned as a pay rise, but she was concerned that reports had suggested this may be “only after four years”.

“That could be a worry,” she said, adding that while she was happy there was a resolution, the details of the proposal would be crucial. “I worked in Australia, in Melbourne and Sydney, and if it was a three-hour flight away I would still be there,” she said.

Another nurse speaking on the guarantee on anonymity said she would be keen to see “what’s in the plan, if anything will keep nurses coming to work in Ireland”.

Séamus Lehane, a doctor, said he had only “glanced” at the news of an agreement being reached but he was very glad of it. He said the nurses did a “great job” and the hospital had been eerily quiet during their strike days. But he said the hospital had come through and he hoped the strike was over.

‘They deserve more’

Faye Masterson, a final year medical student said she hoped the nurses were satisfied with the outcome as she supported their demands.

A man who wished to be identified as “Brian who works in Connolly” said he was not hopeful for an ultimate resolution of the dispute based on what he had heard of the proposed agreement.

“My own understanding is that nurses are not happy with working conditions. It is one nurse to four patients in the USA, by law, and supposedly one to eight here, but in fact it is one to 12 during the day and one to 15 coming off the night shift.” Brian said this needed to be addressed “as well as pay”.

Patient Mark Sherwin said the Government should give the nurses their full set of demands. He said he had spent seven hours in the emergency department and the nurses were “constantly apologising” and working flat out as they did so. “They should be paid what they are entitled to,” he said. “Look at all the money going to the children’s hospital.”

Gerard Kelly said he was a regular patient at the hospital as he has had a quadruple bypass. Mr Kelly also said from his experience the nurses should be given all they asked for.

“Doctors don’t take care of you, the nurses take care of you. They deserve more,” he said.