Nurses at Galway University Hospital's Emergency Department have voted unanimously in favour of industrial action over overcrowding in the department.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives’ Organisation (INMO) said 100% of those balloted voting in favour of a work to rule which will start on Tuesday, February 3, 2015.
Clare Treacy, INMO Industrial Relations Officer said: "INMO members are gravely concerned for the well-being of patients at the Emergency Department of Galway University Hospital. The level of overcrowding and staff shortages is impinging on nurses’ ability to provide safe, quality care."
"Even the minister himself is saying the situation is dangerous. Of course it is not safe to continue to nurse patients head to toe in a department, that in fact has only got nine cubicles.
"Yes - there are 14, 15, 16 trolleys around those nine cubicles - it's simply not safe."
Nurses will not perform any administrative, clerical or non-clinical tasks, but will instead concentrate on providing clinical care to patients within the Emergency Department.
This action is being taken over the "excessive overcrowding, limited space, lack of beds and dangerously low staffing levels".
The INMO said the situation is further compounded by management’s plans to temporarily close 19 acute beds to facilitate a building project.
Ms Treacy said: "The idea of closing beds in such circumstances is simply incredible and alarming. Major change is required to turn this degrading situation around. Additional trolleys on wards will not address the root cause of Emergency Department overcrowding."
Speaking on the issue Anne Burke, INMO Executive Council member and Clinical Nurse Manager at the Emergency Department of Galway University Hospital said: "The conditions in the Emergency Department for both staff and patients have reached an intolerable and grossly unsafe state. It is no longer possible to provide professional and high standards of care to vulnerable patients in such unsafe, under-staffed and immoral conditions."