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The dispute over staffing levels at the hospital ward have been ongoing since December 2015.
Work to Rule

Cancer ward nurses begin long-term protest against 'unsafe staffing levels'

“Although the work is meaningful, the work environment is putting them under a great deal of stress. Nurses go into work fearing what’s ahead of them.”

NURSES WHO WORK at a cancer ward in Cork University Hospital will begin industrial action today against what they say are dangerously low staffing levels at the ward.

The work to rule – which will see 26 staff members from the oncology and radiology ward withdraw from “clerical and administrative duties in order to focus on patient care” – will continue until the dispute is resolved.

INMO Industrial Relations Officer, Mary Rose Carroll said that discussions yesterday continued until 2pm, but were unresolved as hospital management couldn’t offer a timeline to increased staffing levels.

“It’s not good enough for the nurses,” she told “Effectively we’re being given more work with less staff.”

Although the work is meaningful, the work environment is putting them under a great deal of stress. Nurses go into work fearing what’s ahead of them.

A year’s dispute

The issue of understaffing at the ward first arose in December 2015, when two wards merged together, adding three new beds but keeping staff at the same level.

Nurses say that “based on their expert clinical knowledge” that conditions are unsafe and staff at the hospital needs to be increased.

The INMO has said that they’ve “engaged with management on this issue on an on-going basis” since then, but that the additional staff  that was promised “never materialised”.

Carroll said that this is attributable to “a shortage of nurses” as the hospital has been recruiting.

‘A shortage of nurses’

Speaking on the conditions that nurses have to face, Mary Rose Carroll said:

“[The nurses] are extremely concerned about patient safety and are frustrated and disappointed at management’s inadequate response to their legitimate concerns.

Basically there aren’t enough beds in the system, or in Cork University Hospital, and there is a shortage of nurses.

“They have been left with no other option but to take this course of action.”

Read: Girl who fell out of “faulty” window awarded €46,000 damages

Read: “We have a failing hospital system which is rationing health care to patients” says medical organisation

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