Emergency department nurses throughout the country have overwhelmingly voted to strike next month over issues concerning chronic overcrowding and understaffing.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) says 92 per cent of Emergency Department nurses supported the call for nationwide industrial action.
The union plans to take strike action in at least one hospital in each hospital group on Tuesday, December 15th, with further action planned in the New Year.
Speaking at a press conference this morning to announce the action INMO general secretary Liam Doran said the effect a strike may have on patients will depend largely on the outcome of talks with health managers.
While he agreed that there was a potential for “real tragedy” he said it will be the responsibility of hospital management to make sure this didn’t happen.
He said in order to avoid strike action the union want recruitment of up to 300 nurses, new health and safety regulations for emergency departments and the enforcement of agreed escalation policies in the event of overcrowding.
“This campaign is also necessary as a direct result of the failure, of Government and health service management, over many years, to recognise this overcrowding crisis and to allocate the necessary resources to properly address it.
“Our members will no longer tolerate having to go to work, every day, and face constant overcrowding where both the care of patients, and the health and wellbeing of staff, is compromised without anyone, in authority, seeming to recognise the consequences.”
The INMO is to notify the HSE in the coming days which hospitals will be involved on the 15th but say that an all-out, nationwide strike is a very real possibility in the new year.
Dublin North East: Beaumont Hospital; Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda; Connolly Hospital; Cavan General Hospital; Rotunda Hospital; Louth County Hospital; Monaghan Hospital. (Academic Partner: RCSI).
Dublin Midlands: St James’s Hospital; Tallaght Hospital; Midlands Regional Hospital, Tullamore; Naas General Hospital; Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise; the Coombe Women and Infant University Hospital. (Academic Partner: TCD).
Dublin East: Mater Misericordiae University Hospital; St Vincent’s University Hospital; Midland Regional Hospital Mullingar; St Luke’s General Hospital, Kilkenny; Wexford General Hospital; National Maternity Hospital; Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan; St Columcille’s Hospital; St Michael’s Hospital, Dun Laoghaire; Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital; Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital. (Academic Partner: UCD).