NURSES at University Hospital Limerick will ballot for industrial action over frustrations with "persistent" high vacancy rates and the working environment surrounding workloads and Covid-19.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, which represents 1,000 nurses at UHL, said that they are balloting for action this Wednesday after management’s "refusal" to attend talks at the Workplace Relations Commision.
A spokesperson said they are "frustrated at the approach to date by management to resolving the persistent high nurse vacancy rates and other related issues.
"Among nurses’ concerns are the risks to patients, overcrowding in a COVID-19 environment and excessive workloads arising due to unfilled funded nursing posts in wards, emergency department and theatres. To date management have declined to provide the INMO with the vacancy rate."
Mary Fogarty INMO assistant director of industrial relations said that it is "imperative" all vacancies are filled, ahead of the new 96-bed block, which is currently in the planning process.
“However many of the wards also have historical low staffing levels and need additional nurses to cope with the demands of the COVID-19 environment.
“Nurses at UHL are exhausted after a very tough winter with record overcrowding levels, followed by a pandemic. They are telling us the vacancy rate is as high as 17-20% in the emergency department and 30% on some wards, making it impossible to maintain patient and staff safety and cope with the COVID environment. The ongoing refusal of management to attend the WRC will only lead to delays in opening additional beds at the hospital”.
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