HSE management in Limerick has accused A&E nurses heading for the picket lines this afternoon of endangering patients and providing “inadequate” cover during a planned four-hour work stoppage by the INMO and SIPTU.
Nurses served notice of industrial action two weeks ago over staffing levels and the impact of budget cutbacks on patient safety in the Dooradoyle emergency department.
Appealing to the unions to call off the action, the HSE said they had “encountered an extraordinary lack of cooperation in normal contingency planning for the stoppage which represented a new, unwelcome and potentially dangerous departure in industrial action by nursing unions”.
The level of care proposed by unions between the hours of 1pm and 5pm was “inadequate and unacceptable”, the HSE said.
“No useful purpose” would be served by the action which would “only exacerbate the pressures in Dooradoyle which the unions said they were protesting against.”
Bernard Gloster, HSE Mid-West area manager, Bernard Gloster added: “In a situation where extra funding is not, and will not be, available from the government, and all concerned know this full well, it would make better sense to sit down and see how we can best utilise the resources we have. There is no prospect of overtime payments and agency nursing being restored.”
But both unions have pledged adequate levels of care will be provided during the stoppage and said the HSE had failed to attend meetings.
Today’s work stoppage will take place between 1pm and 5pm.