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Nurses' strike: HSE releases info on which health services will and will not operate on the day

The action will begin at 8am on Wednesday and finish at 8am on Thursday.

Image: Shutterstock/Dusan Petkovic

THE HSE HAS released guidelines and information on which health services will and will not be in operation if next week’s planned nurses’ strike goes ahead. 

Nurses and midwives will strike for a full day next week on Wednesday, 30 January in protest against pay and what they call a recruitment and retention issue in the sector. 

The action will begin at 8am on Wednesday and finish at 8am on Thursday.

Talks aimed at averting the strike between representatives of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) and the government broke down on Friday without any resolution, meaning the strike is set to go ahead.

The HSE said efforts were still underway to avert the action but that it was now putting in place plans to deal with the potential action. 

These plans are outlined below.

Service disruptions 

Acute Hospitals 

The following services WILL NOT operate in acute hospitals on the day of the strike: 

  • Local injury units will not operate
  • With the exception of cancer surgery cases all other planned in-patient and day case surgery will be cancelled
  • All out-patient appointments are cancelled, including adult, maternity and paediatric
  • In the event that a pregnant woman requires urgent assessment due to cancellation of OPD, she should present to the emergency admission room

The following services WILL operate on the day of the strike:

  • Urgent cancer surgery. Patients will be contacted directly by hospitals if their surgery is proceeding
  • Emergency theatres
  • In-patient wards
  • Maternity services (delivery suites/home births/special care baby units/neonatal)
  • Critical care
  • Colposcopy services
  • Oncology services (chemotherapy & radiotherapy)
  • Dialysis
  • Emergency departments (adult and paediatric)
  • Planned obstetrics procedures (based on maternal & foetal well-being)

The HSE said that due to the strike action, people should only present at emergency services if it is absolutely essential. 

Community Services

The HSE said that a variety of community services WILL NOT be in operation on the day. Among the disruptions:

  • All public day centres for older people or people with disabilities, where nurses are employed, will close
  • All routine community nursing services and health centre clinics where nurses participate will be cancelled
  • All day hospitals or out-patient appointments in community nursing hospitals/units will be cancelled

Services that WILL operate include:

  • Planned essential services at home
  • Long-term care of older people and people with intellectual disability
  • Limited palliative care
  • A limited newborn screening service will be operational

The HSE said that if the industrial action goes ahead any appointments or procedures that are cancelled will be rescheduled.  

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has over 40,000 members; in a ballot held before the strike was announced, over 90% of members that were polled voted in favour of industrial action.

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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