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Dublin: 5°C Wednesday 3 March 2021

INMO president: Reilly "has shown little or no regard" for nurses, midwives

The INMO is to present the health minister with the findings of its trolley and ward watch initiatives, which show an increase in the amount of people on trolleys.

Minister for Health Dr James Reilly
Minister for Health Dr James Reilly
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

HEALTH MINISTER DR James Reilly is to face nurses and midwives at the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation conference today – a day after union members were told to ‘stand up’ to government and employers.

The INMO will present the minister with the findings of their trolley and ward watch surveys, which note the amount of people on trolleys and in wards in Irish hospitals.

The figures, which were released yesterday, show an increase since 2007 in the amount of people on trolleys and wards.

At yesterday’s conference, the president of the INMO, Claire Mahon, said that it has been “an uphill battle” for the union’s members during the last few months, but it is one she will continue to fight.

She said that the union members “cannot solve our overcrowding problem without additional beds, without nursing/midwifery staff and without additional community support services.  To think otherwise is simply to ignore the reality and to compromise the care of patients”.

Stand up

Mahon said that she was addressing the members before Minister Reilly “as I believe that I should address you, not a Minister who has shown little or no regard for our professions”.

She also commented on patient safety in Irish hospitals, saying:

The main focus in Irish Health care has not been on patient safety, it has been on budget constraints and cost savings. We know that when the emphasis is placed on savings rather than at the frontline we see staffing shortages, equipment shortages and short cuts being taken. These kinds of cut backs can have a detrimental effect on patient health, progress and chances of survival.

Mahon described the situation in Irish healthcare as “critical and unacceptable”, and called on registered midwives and nurses to “stand up” and make employers and government act.

She also spoke about the extension of the Croke Park agreement, describing the proposals as “deeply divisive and discriminating”. The INMO delegation left the talks and Mahon said she is “proud” that this occurred.

According to Mahon:

INMO members are living, from month to month, many of them not able to pay all of their bills, many of them increasingly in mortgage arrears and all of them simply trying to provide for themselves, their families, their children and their loved ones.
We did not party.  We did not cause the country to go bankrupt. However we are certainly paying the price.

If the government introduces pay cuts, Mahon said that she will actively participate in a campaign of opposition, and if necessary, industrial action. The union is willing to re-engage in talks, and willing to make payroll savings, she added.

INMO members voted yesterday to undertake a nationwide ballot seeking a mandate for industrial action if the government introduces cuts.

The three-day conference will come to a close in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, today.

Read: INMO to debate emergency motion on industrial action>

Read: INMO prepared to mobilise against pay cuts>

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