AS nurses at the emergency department of the Mid-Western Regional Hospital staged a four-hour work stoppage this Wednesday, fears grew that industrial unrest could soon spread to the whole hospital.
Of the 700 whole-time equivalent nursing positions in Dooradoyle, around 50 work in the emergency department. A&E nurses downed tools at lunchtime over the “extremely unsafe” conditions for patients in casaulty – resulting from cutbacks and the centralisation of services to the Regional from Ennis and Nenagh.
HSE area manager Bernard Gloster said the financial position in the public service was well-known to all staff and appealed to nurses to resolve the difficulties through options such as new rosters and redeployment.
Industrial action, meanwhile, could escalate in all areas of the hospital over the issues of trolleys and extra beds being placed on general wards, something INMO and SIPTU members are already on a work-to-rule over.
“Before today’s work stoppage we had a situation where the nursing unions were on a work-to-rule past and not co-operating with certain actions within the hospital. We understand that if there isn’t a resolution to the issues put forward by the nurses after today’s stoppage that we will be notified of further industrial action.”
Four nurses remained on duty in A&E during this Wednesday’s work stoppage with another seven on standby in case of an emergency, the INMO said. Mr Gloster confirmed that the four on duty were not being paid as they were not performing normal duties such as triage - where consultants were filling in - or processing lab tests.
Anne Carew, an A&E nurse from Galbally with 14 years experience, was taking part in the action because patients should no longer have to put up with the “deplorable” conditions in A&E.