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As hospitals recover from record-high trolley crisis, staff are considering a strike

Hospital staff are being asked whether they wish to strike over payments and career progression measures.

Image: Peter Byrne

STAFF MEMBERS FROM at least 40 hospitals across Ireland are being asked whether they want to strike over elements of their public pay deal which aren’t being implemented.

In a statement released by trade union organisation Siptu, they said that the ballot would begin today – a week after a record-high demand for emergency services – and would close a month later on the 13 February.

This is to give the HSE and Department of Health time “to address all the outstanding issues of concern for our members, something they have failed to do over the preceding 15 months”.

According to Siptu health division organiser Paul Bell, the strike is over failures to adhere completely to the Lansdowne Road Agreement and Haddington Road Agreement.

The most crucial elements that have not been adhered to include the reintroduce of a job evaluation scheme, to pay interns or apply incremental credit and double time payments.

“The other central issue in this dispute involves the granting of concessions by the HSE and the Department of Health to nurses working in emergency departments which have not been extended to other workers.”

File Photo. Hospital Crisis. Paul Bell of SIPTU has expressed concern that ambulance drivers cannot respont to emergency calls because their vechicles are being retained at hospitals with patients inside, because there is no room for them in the A&E depar Source: RollingNews.ie

Over the weekend, Health Minister Simon Harris hinted at replacing hospital managers to try and solve the healthcare demand crisis, telling the Independent.ie: “You have to decide what’s good practice and what’s bad practice – measure it and demand more of it.”

In December the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation voted in favour of industrial action over staff shortages and limited beds creating a difficult working environment.

Already there are work-to-rules in place in Cork University Hospital’s oncology ward, and Mayo University Hospital’s maternity ward.

Today’s trolley watch report shows that there are 466 people on trolleys and wards in hospitals across Ireland – which is quite high but substantially lower than the record high 612 from early last week.

The government have been grappling with the high demand for emergency services last week by opening 60 acute hospital beds in hospitals across the country.

Read: ‘We’ve had enough’: Nurses have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action

Read: ‘People are waiting over 15 hours’: Hospitals buckle as government looks for quick fix

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