The HSE’s deputy head of operations, Anne O’Connor, is advising patients who have not been contacted to turn up for their elective procedures tomorrow despite the threatened dispute by support staff.
She told RTE Radio's News at One that not all elective procedures or outpatient appointments will be cancelled as the dispute is at 38 sites, not all hospitals.
Patient safety is a priority, she added. The strike is being managed locally between the HSE and SIPTU to reduce the potential impact on patients.
Ms O’Connor advised people awaiting procedures tomorrow to wait to get the call that it has been cancelled. If they do not receive a call then they should assume that it is going ahead as scheduled.
“People should assume that if they’re not contacted that their appointment will go ahead.
“Support staff are critical to the health system. We are working with SIPTU to maintain essential care delivery."
She also urged people to stay away from hospital if they can and if necessary visit their GP. However, for people already in hospital care will be provided with staff from other grades if necessary assisting in feeding patients.
“It is going to be very difficult. This is not the type of strike we are used to. Many of these staff are the people who keep hospitals moving.”
Emergency services will continue, the priority is to reduce the impact of the strike on service users, she said.
HSE warns of significant disruption over strike action by health staff
The Health Service Executive has warned that tomorrow's industrial action, planned by 10,000 health support staff, will have a significant effect on patient services.
Staff like porters, chefs, and maternity care assistants will go on strike from 8am due to a row over whether workers are due a pay rise under a job evaluation scheme.
In a statement, the HSE said that the strike action will take place in 38 hospitals and facilities across the country.
They said that they are continuing to engage with the SIPTU trade union to ensure contingency plans are in place and ensure minimum disruption to patient services.
There are no plans for talks between the HSE and the union.
The services mostly impacted by the industrial action will be:
- Deferral of some elective inpatient procedures
- Significant cancellation of scope procedures
- Reduced outpatient services
- Reduced laboratory services for GPs
- Reduced catering services for both patients and staff
- Reduced operating theatre activity.
Patients are in the process of being contacted by hospitals and healthcare facilities in the event that their services will be affected by the dispute.