Nurses vote for industrial action ahead of march on Dáil

Nurses vote for industrial action ahead of march on Dáil

Members of the Irish Nurses and Midwive's organisation in the University Hospitals Group have voted in favour of industrial action in response to hospital overcrowding.

The move affects Limerick, Ennis, Nenagh and Croom hospitals, and nurses voted by 93% in favour of industrial action, in the form of a work-to-rule.

The action will commence on Tuesday, 3 February.

Members of the public are being asked to join with nurses for tomorrow's lunchtime protest outside the Dáil.

It comes after the numbers of people on trolleys reached a new high last week.

The union listed several reasons for the action, including:

• "Unabated" overcrowding at the University Hospital Limerick

• A need for additional nurses for the Emergency Department to cope with patients on trolleys;

• A need for additional trolleys and beds on in-patient wards;

• No additional nurses prior to the opening of a 23 bedded ward in the hospital

• Plans to open decommissioned beds in Ennis and Nenagh Hospitals without any additional staff;

• A shortage of 70-100 nursing posts in Limerick and more in Ennis and Nenagh;

• A plan to transfer patients to Croom Orthopaedic Hospital pending a review by a medical team.

"We acknowledge that additional bed capacity is required in the region but equally this requires the recruitment of nurses, and other support staff, for all proposed new in-patient areas,” said INMO Industrial Relations Officer, Mary Fogarty.

The protest will be staged from midday tomorrow outside the Kildare street entrance of Dáil Éireann and has the support of SIPTU, ICTU and other Trade Unions.

The INMO's Deputy General Secretary, Dave Hughes, said blaming elderly patients and their families on causing the problem is wrong.

"This thing arises every single winter … and it is getting worse," he said.

"When you start blaming patients and their families, you're really barking up the wrong tree. People deserve a proper health service. They should not have to wait with the human indignity that's being imposed on them at the moment."

On then back of the latest ballot result, the INMO's daily trolley watch report revealed 433 patients waiting for full admission to a bed on a hospital ward.

Beaumont was the worst in the country with 49 people on trolleys including five people in ward areas, while 35 were waiting for beds in Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown, west Dublin and 31 in Letterkenny.

Two hospitals had 30 people on trolleys – the Midland Regional in Mullingar and University Hospital Galway.

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