Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson, Stephen Donnelly TD, has said the Government must do all in its power to avert the chaos of a 24 hours strike by nurses and midwives this Wednesday. Deputy Donnelly explained, “With less than 48 hours until a planned strike by members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) the Government must take all action possible to avert the protest.
“The 24-hour work stoppage is clearly the last resort for nurses. Their concerns about recruitment and retention have been repeatedly ignored by the Government leaving them with no choice but to take to the picket line.
“Fianna Fáil put forward a private members motion in the Dáil two weeks ago encouraging the Health Minister to engage with the INMO. Unfortunately talks between nurses, the Department of Health and the HSE have since broken down at the Workplace Relations Commission and the INMO have claimed no proposals were made during the discussions to avert the upcoming strike.
“This is understandably a very anxious time for patients, and considering the seriousness of the situation, it is disgraceful that the government has allowed it to escalate to this level.
We know that cancer surgery will still go ahead on Wednesday but no other planned operations will take place. There will be no outpatient appointments either and only emergency cover will be provided by nurses. The HSE has specifically warned people to only attend A&E Departments if absolutely necessary.
“It is not too late to avoid this strike entirely. The Minister for Health has to sit down with nurses again and make some real proposals to deal with the issues they face. As of now, nurses and midwives are still the lowest paid – core salary – graduate professionals in the health service. The nursing profession has changed dramatically in recent years and this must be acknowledged when it comes time to talk”, concluded Deputy Donnelly.