In the face of what the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) describes as 'chronic overcrowding and understaffing in our hospitals, residential care and community settings' the INMO Executive Council rejected staffing, recruitment, retention proposals put forward by the HSE, as being 'totally inadequate'.
The INMO will now serve notice of nationwide action commencing on Tuesday, March 7, 2017. The action will take the form of an immediate and continuous work to rule involving nurses and midwives working to contract resulting in a ban on overtime, cross cover and redeployment.
"In considering the proposals, Executive Council members presented numerous examples of nurses and midwives unable to provide full care to their patients, working beyond the end of their shift without pay, unable to take meal breaks and facing unmanageable workloads because of the appalling conditions, and inadequate staffing they now face every day” said Martina Harkin-Kelly, INMO President.
Executive Council members considered the proposals put forward as 'completely inadequate' in terms of retaining staff and recognising the reality of the workplace endured by nurses and midwives. On recruitment, the proposals were regarded as 'too little too late' and still not competing with that being offered in the private sector and in other countries.
INMO General Secretary, Liam Doran said, “the clear message received from INMO members is that their workplaces are now unsafe and dangerously overcrowded. All areas are understaffed and the services are at breaking point which will require radical solutions to take the pressure off struggling nurses and midwives. We need to attract and retain nurses and midwives in sufficient numbers to provide safe care and the current proposals contain no adequate remedies for this.”
The rejection of the proposals, which emerged from late night talks on Tuesday, February 7, will now lead to the INMO exercising the 90% mandate it received in a ballot of its members prior to Christmas.
In addition, the Organisation will commence a series of rolling stoppages if the dispute is not resolved.
Tullamore Hospital had 27 patients awaiting admission yesterday (February 8) according to INMO figures.