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INMO to consult with members on industrial action

The INMO general secretary said ‘what has transpired this week in our hospitals was totally avoidable’.

LAST UPDATE | 6 Jan 2023

THE IRISH NURSES and Midwives Organisation (INMO) is set to consult with members on industrial action.

The decision follows an emergency meeting this afternoon and the Executive Council of the INMO.

The Executive Council is made up of working nurses and midwives and it has sanctioned the beginning of a consultation with nurses on a campaign of industrial action.

INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha said the organisation is seeking “safe staffing levels that are underpinned with legislation”.

She added that the INMO is pursing “clinical facilitation in all hospitals to ensure a safe skills mix”.

This week has been the worst week on record for hospital overcrowding, and the interim CEO of the HSE, Stephan Mulvany, said he cannot say for certain that “it won’t get worse before it gets better”.

Speaking to reporters in Dublin today, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said that over next few weekends, senior decision makers will be required to work in a bid to ramp up hospital discharges.

Donnelly added that he would be meeting with the HSE senior management team today, stating “more needs to be done”. 

However, Ní Sheaghdha said: “What has transpired this week in our hospitals was totally avoidable.

“For too long nurses and midwives have been warning that we were going to see an overcrowding blackspot in January unless serious and meaningful action was taken.”

A record 931 patients were without beds in Irish hospitals earlier this week, the highest figure ever recorded by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), amidst a surge in Covid-19 and influenza cases.

This morning, the INMO reported that 535 admitted patients were waiting for beds, with 417 patients waiting in emergency departments and a further 118 on wards elsewhere in hospitals.

“While many will try to laud the fact that we have seen a decrease of patients on trolleys from 931 to 535,” said Ní Sheaghdha, “we won’t be part of attempts to justify this as an improvement.

“Nurses and midwives expect and deserve to work in a safe practice environment in which they can deliver the safe and excellent care they are trained to provide.”

Meanwhile, INMO President Karen McGowan said that “nurses and midwives are being asked to crisis manage a situation that is of our employers’ own making”.

McGowan also warned that “levels of burnout are at an all-time high”.

The INMO president added: “We must now take whatever action is deemed necessary to ensure that we do not endure this level of danger in our workplaces in the coming months and years ahead on a continuous replay mode.

“We will now commence a series of information and consultation meetings with members over the next month.”

- With additional reporting from Jane Moore and Christina Finn

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