'Normal cleaning will not be in place' if health support staff strike goes ahead

'Normal cleaning will not be in place' if health support staff strike goes ahead

Update 8.30am: An emergency medicine consultant has warned that while there is not a “significant risk of immediate death” because of the strike on Wednesday, there will be serious implications for the running of the health service.

Dr Fergal Hickey told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that there will be delays and inconvenience for patients and staff during the planned strike by healthcare support staff following the breakdown of talks at the Workplace Relations Commission on Monday.

Contingency planning will achieve only so much, he said. But for contingency plans to work people will have to do jobs that they don’t normally do.

The longer the dispute goes on, the more difficult it will be to resolve it as there is a danger that both sides will become entrenched, he warned.

Dr Hickey said that for Emergency Departments the strike will cause problems as there will be no access to portering to bring patients to wards or radiology.

Cleaning the department will also be a concern as over a 24 hour period there are significant “spills of blood and other bodily fluids. Normal cleaning will not be in place.”

Healthcare support staff are important cogs in the running of the health service, he said.

Once the strike goes to a second day it will make it more and more difficult to contingency manage, he warned.

Elective surgeries and scope procedures will not go ahead because there will not be staff available to sterilize equipment.

The dispute could have been resolved last week, he said. The sad thing is that both sides could become more entrenched.

'Normal cleaning will not be in place' if health support staff strike goes ahead

Earlier: The Irish Patients Association says clarity is needed on the impact tomorrow's strike by 10,000 health support workers will have on patients.

A 24-hour stoppage looks set to go ahead after talks between SIPTU, the HSE and Department of Public Expenditure at the Workplace Relations Commission yesterday failed to reach an agreement.

38 hospital and healthcare facilities will be affected by tomorrow's strike action, with the likes of cleaners, chefs and porters downing tools in a dispute over a jobs evaluation scheme.

SIPTU health organiser Paul Bell said throughout the negotiations, their members' requests have not been taken seriously by the government.

"We do believe that the Government have not treated our members seriously," said Mr Bell.

And having deferred two days of strike action to give a real chance of negotiating a settlement, we believe that a lot more could have been done.

The HSE has said services will be significantly impacted and it is engaging with SIPTU on contingency arrangements.

However, the Irish Patients Association says it is worried there has been no explanation on what the contingency plans are.

Spokesperson for the Irish Patients Association, Stephen McMahon, said the HSE need to be clear to patients on what they can expect.

"There has been no public explanation as to what those contingency plans are," said Mr McMahon.

"We hear that they are being negotiated on a local level but we don't know whether there will be the equity of treatment in all of the 38 hospitals that are going to be affected."

It is clear however that some inpatient procedures will be deferred and scope procedures cancelled.

There will also be reduced outpatient, lab and catering services and operating theatre activity.

More on this topic

Overtime ban to go ahead as Psychiatric Nurses Association and health-service management fail to reach agreementOvertime ban to go ahead as Psychiatric Nurses Association and health-service management fail to reach agreement

Gut bacteria may play a role in development of ALS, study suggestsGut bacteria may play a role in development of ALS, study suggests

Going for gold: Olympic sport psychologist Kate Kirby on what it takes to have a winning mindsetGoing for gold: Olympic sport psychologist Kate Kirby on what it takes to have a winning mindset

As Alexa Chung reveals she has endometriosis, here’s everything you need to know about the conditionAs Alexa Chung reveals she has endometriosis, here’s everything you need to know about the condition

More in this Section

Calls for Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley to act on 'crisis-hit' schoolsCalls for Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley to act on 'crisis-hit' schools

Judge slams posting of video of elderly man in nursing home as 'reprehensible' Judge slams posting of video of elderly man in nursing home as 'reprehensible'

Proposed legislation banning the sale of e-cigarettes to children welcomed by Vape Business IrelandProposed legislation banning the sale of e-cigarettes to children welcomed by Vape Business Ireland

Dublin public transport users reminded to wash hands as faecal matter found on seats and handrailsDublin public transport users reminded to wash hands as faecal matter found on seats and handrails


Lifestyle

Pollinators are busy feasting on a tempting selection of flowering plants, says Peter Dowdall.The hedgerows are alive with the sound of insects

Carol O’Callaghan previews Cork Craft Month, when exhibitions, workshops and retail opportunitiesAn insider's guide to Cork Craft Month's exciting exhibitions, shopping opportunities and workshops

With a plethora of culture and content releasing at an incessant rate, finding someone to have that cliched watercooler moment with is getting harder and harder. However, there’s a whole host of pop culture podcasts that do the heavy lifting/watching with you.Trawling through pop culture... so you don’t have to

An exhibition in Skibbereen pays tribute to late photographer Michael Minihane, writes Richard FitzpatrickMichael Minihane has been putting West Cork in the frame for decades

More From The Irish Examiner