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File image of University Hospital Limerick. Alamy Stock Photo

Industrial action by ICU nurses in University Hospital Limerick suspended

It follows the agreement of a proposal between the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation and UHL.

INDUSTRIAL ACTION IN University Hospital Limerick’s Intensive Care Unit has been suspended.

It follows the agreement of a proposal between the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation and UHL.

The industrial action has been suspended to allow a ballot on the agreement to take place.

Last week, nurses in the hospital’s ICU began work-to-rule industrial action, which means they only performed duties to the letter of their contract, without taking on additional work.

The INMO said this was an unprecedented step for nurses to take, and that they did so due to deep concerns about “the potential deviation away from one nurse to one patient care in the ICU”. 

The INMO stated last week that staffing in the ICU of the Limerick hospital is operating at a 22% deficit, which means that nearly a quarter of the required nurses are not available on the roster.

Despite this, all of the ICU beds on the ward remain open.

Speaking today, INMO assistant director of relations Mary Fogarty said: “The work-to-rule in the Intensive Care Unit in University Hospital Limerick has been suspended to allow a ballot to take place on an agreement reached between the INMO and hospital management through the auspices of the Workplace Relations Commission.

“The agreement reached is a temporary one to address the staffing shortfalls that are impacting both patient and staff safety in the ICU.”

Measures in the agreement include a commitment to ensure that at least 16 nurses will be rostered in for both day and night duty for the 12-bed ward.

Fogarty added: “Nurses who work in the ICU will be facilitated to take their annual leave and assurances have been made that additional ICU nurses will be on site in June and July to bolster the current staffing complement.

“Safe staffing in the ICU is of utmost importance to our members who have been under intolerable pressure while trying to provide excellent care to very sick patients.”

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