Nurses return to the picket line: how today’s strike will affect Kilkenny patients
PATIENTS are being urged to stay away from St Luke’s General Hospital unless in emergency cases as the second 24-hour nurses’ strike in a week gets underway this morning.
The Health Services Executive (HSE) believes up to 50,000 people will be affected by today’s strike. This is effectively double the number that were directly impacted by the nurses’ work stoppage last Wednesday.
As part of an escalation of the dispute, today’s action will affect people with appointments for rehabilitation and respite services.
Appointments for hospital in-patient operations, day case procedures and out-patient clinics will, with some exceptions, be cancelled.
The country’s 37,000 nurses are also scheduled to stage another 24-hour work stoppage on Thursday.
Today’s strike will severely curtail services at St Luke’s, which is already suffering from overcrowding. Yesterday 15 patients at our local hospital were treated on trolleys, according to latest figures from the INMO’s trolley ward watch figures.
Despite the impact on patient services, the majority of the public are backing the nurses in their fight for better pay and working conditions. There was widespread public support in Kilkenny last Wednesday for nurses on the picket lines at St Luke’s and Kilcreene hospital.
Last weekend the INMO announced a major escalation of their strike action, with five further 24-hour stoppages planned after today.
And so far there is no sign of a resolution in sight. Yesterday the Government said it was willing “to engage in talks on the range of workplace- related issues other than pay to try to resolve the dispute”.
The WRC has invited nursing unions and public service management to new talks in an attempt to avert further strikes.
However the INMO General Secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha described the proposal as “the most cynical move I have seen in a long time”.
Last night the INMO said it had still received no offer or proposal to reverse today’s strike.
The Psychiatric Nurses Association said any talks that did not address pay would be of “no benefit” in resolving the dispute.