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Industrial Action

Naas nurses vote for industrial action

The nurses say that overcrowding in the hospital and a recruitment freeze has brought them to the end of their tether.

NURSES IN NAAS General Hospital have voted for industrial action.

The nurses began balloting on Monday and voted by a margin of 86 per cent to begin striking.

The ballot was organised by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation.

Nurses said they were spurred on to ballot because of the “unsafe conditions” at the hospital.

Derek Reilly from the INMO had said that nursing staff were exasperated with the situation, and were concerned about patient safety and “terrible working conditions”.

The reason we voted for industrial action is emergency department overcrowding. There are people on trolleys around the hospital and there are not enough nurses to manage overcrowding.

He said the members of the INMO want the HSE to open up the 24 closed beds in the hospital and open the newly furbished medical assessment unit that cost half the taxpayer half a million euro but has not been opened due to a lack of staff.

He said that the nurses “are at the end of their tether” and that they are now seeking a meeting with management of the hospital to discuss the situation.

Should the industrial action go ahead, it would begin in early September and would involve strict work to rule to “cause maximum disruption to the HSE”.

Reilly said this would mean “trying to concentrate on patient care and losing the administrative functions. Our priority is the patients.”

“We need at least one nurse to 6 patients and occasionally you could have 20 patients to one nurse,” he said. “This isn’t about the budget, it’s about patient safety.”

There has been a total of 16 posts lost at the hospital since the beginning of the year.

Recently, posts have been frozen such as that of a nurse manager in the Emergency Department, which Reilly said the HSE deemed not critical enough to be filled.

The HSE said that it is awaiting formal notification from the INMO on the outcome of the ballot, and added:

On a daily basis staff and management in Naas General Hospital work to ensure safe and appropriate care is provided to patients in the hospital’s Emergency Department.

Read: Naas nurses to ballot on industrial action>

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