BREAKING: 21 patients on trolleys at St Luke’s as talks to avert nurses’ strike fail
OVERCROWDING figures at St Luke’s General Hospital rose significantly today as patients across the country braced themselves for tomorrow’s nurses’ strike.
A total of 21 patients at St Luke’s were treated on trolleys at the hospital today, almost double the 11 recorded by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) less than a week ago last Thursday.
The increase in local patients left waiting for a bed comes as the Labour Court today decided not to make formal intervention in the dispute over pay and staff shortages.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) said more than 25,000 patients across the country will have medical appointments disrupted as a result of tomorrow’s strike action.
Talks that begun at the Labour Court yesterday were adjourned early this morning. This afternoon the court confirmed it has decided not to make a formal intervention in the dispute.
The INMO this evening expressed disappointment at the Labour Court’s decision, which has effectively put paid to hopes of an eleventh hour breakthrough.
The HSE has put contingency plans in place around the country as the 24-hour stoppage gets underway at 8am tomorrow.
It has warned of widespread closures and restrictions of hospital and community services.
Health authorities said restrictions will affect the following operations in all hospitals:
*In-patient and other wards;
*Planned obstetric procedures (based on maternal and foetal well-being).
Key hospital services that will be operational tomorrow are:
*Urgent cancer surgery;
*Maternity services (delivery suites/home births/ special baby care units/neonatal care);
*Oncology services (chemotherapy and radiotherapy) will all go ahead;
Up to 40,000 nurses are set to take part in tomorrow’s strike, the first of six planned stoppages. Further strikes are scheduled to take place on February 5, 7, 12, 13 and 14.
The INMO is seeking pay rises to bring nurses’ wages in line with other staff, including respiratory technicians, whose pay at €53,372 a year is €7,671 higher than a nurse’s €45,701 basic pay rate after 15 years.