Eight-month HSE talks spark union action in Limerick

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Nurses and  midwives  stage a protest outside the University Maternity Hospital Limerick on Friday afternoon. Picture: Liam Burke/Press 22
MORE THAN 50 nurses and midwives engaged in an hour-long lunchtime protest outside the University Maternity Hospital Limerick on Friday, to launch a campaign to urge the HSE to combat “unsafe levels of staffing”.

MORE THAN 50 nurses and midwives engaged in an hour-long lunchtime protest outside the University Maternity Hospital Limerick on Friday, to launch a campaign to urge the HSE to combat “unsafe levels of staffing”.

While the INMO has welcomed the Government’s announcement to relocate the Ennis Road hospital to the University Hospital Limerick campus, the spokesperson said that “urgent needs” have not been addressed by the HSE since talks began in February.

INMO industrial relations officer Mary Fogarty said at the protest that the ratio of midwives to births at the hospital is “probably one of the worst in the country”.

Nurses and midwives at the hospital say that there are two midwives for every 28 ante-natal and post-natal mothers and babies “on a regular basis”, she said.

A UL Hospitals Group spokesperson rejected any claim of unsafe staffing levels and said that it had actively engaged in a recruitment campaign since the start of the year, which has resulted in the employment of 55 midwives, 13 contracts being offered to recent midwifery graduates, and the advertisement of 25 new midwifery jobs.

The INMO said that a ballot for a work to rule would follow if matters are not resolved.