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Dublin: 13 °C Tuesday 2 September, 2014

‘A hospital is not just bricks and mortar’ – staff determined to save Mount Carmel

A protest march will take place later today with staff saying the services provided by the hospital are vital to the community.

A SMALL NUMBER of staff at Mount Carmel Hospital in Dublin are still involved in a sit-in today, saying they will not give up on it.

It was announced last week that the hospital would be wound down, with the lost of 328 jobs. NAMA had acquired its loans in 2010 but the hospital incurred “unsustainable losses” since then and the agency said it had not been possible to sell it at “an acceptable price”. About 200 staff yesterday were told that it would be their final day with the remainder expected to remain in place for another week or two.

However a small number decided to stage a sit-in yesterday evening, in a bid to bring attention to their campaign to keep the hospital open.

Lisanne Brady, who worked on reception and admissions, told TheJournal.ie that the workers are “exhausted and distraught” today after spending the night in the hospital.

“It’s been a week of absolute horror in here as well because we’ve been in every night after work with the unions,” she said.

Brady said unions representing employees want to “play a longer game” as they are working on issues like redundancy and finding other work for them. However she claimed the “real story” has not been highlighted in media coverage since it was announced the hospital would close.

“Last Friday, in the news coverage, Minister Reilly said there was no requirement in the public health system for Mount Carmel because there’s plenty of capacity in the maternity hospitals around the country but we only got 20 per cent of our business from that,” she explained. “1,500 public patients were treated in this hospital since last year.”

One public patient, who had been waiting four years for a tonsillectomy had to be told this week that she was being referred back to her original hospital, without any  indication of how much longer she would now have to wait.

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(Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland)

“There are 328 people here willing to work and the services are needed and the government will do nothing to step in and save it,” Brady said.

A hospital is not just bricks and mortar, it’s made up from the experience of the staff. I work on the reception and I have literally spoken to hundreds of people this week, even those calling because they weren’t sure about getting their deposit back, and they were all telling me how devastated they were that the hospital was closing. It’s a huge shock to the community and there is no public appetite for it.

A protest march will start at the hospital at 2pm today with supporters of the workers as well as representative from People Before Profit. The workers will join the march with Brady saying today is “just the start of the campaign”.

Read: Mount Carmel will deliver its final baby today as 200 staff leave the hospital>

Read: Mount Carmel workers ‘staging sit-in’ over hospital closure>

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