File picture of an X-ray Shutterstock

Radiographers in Galway hospitals vote for imminent industrial action

Radiographers say their workload has increased significantly due to problems recruiting and retaining new staff.

RADIOGRAPHERS WORKING IN University Hospital Galway and Merlin Park University Hospital have today voted overwhelmingly for industrial action.

The vote came after “months of frustration” over problems with recruitment and retention of radiographers at the hospitals, according to Siptu. 

The union said that there are 20% fewer radiographers than are currently needed at the hospitals, which has caused a significant extra workload for the existing radiographers. 

Siptu said that proposals put forward by the union were rejected by management at the hospitals, and said management was reluctant to consider additional out-of-hours service, which was “at odds with the stated positions of the Minister of Health and HSE CEO.”

John McCamley, sector organiser for Siptu, said that “fundamental changes must be made to attract radiographers to Galway” or there will be “a full-blown crisis in both hospitals”. 

“Siptu representatives are concerned that staffing deficits for radiographers in Galway could cause significant safety issues. We are calling for immediate action to be taken by management to address recruitment and retention.”

Speaking to The Journal, McCamley said there hadn’t been enough attention on retaining staff at the two hospitals, which share a radiology department.

“Management have gone and recruited people, but it’s the retention issue. People need to stay as well and the environment isn’t conducive for them.”

He also highlighted the off-site arrangement as an issue for radiographers, which he said is atypical and means they must “make their way into the hospital every time they’re called, then they deal with the call itself and then they have to make their way back to their house”. 

“That’s a difficult situation as I’m sure you can imagine,” he said, giving the example of a stroke patient where time is of the essence.

McCamley wouldn’t be drawn on when industrial action will begin or what form it will take, but in their statement, Siptu warn that anything “up to and including strike action” is on the table.

But, McCamley stressed, industrial action could still be averted if management take their demands seriously.

“We are open to further engagements. We haven’t ruled out further discussions. I understand we have been offered a date [for a meeting] on 12 October, so hopefully that will be the catalyst that will move this process on.”

“If we don’t have radiographers, we don’t have many services within the acute hospital setting. They may be smaller group in terms of the number of staff, but their services are absolutely vital.”

The Department of Health was contacted for comment. 

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel