REVEALED: How nurses’ strike will affect hospital services for Kilkenny patients
PATIENT services at St Luke’s General Hospital will be severely affected on Wednesday when the first of six planned 24-hour nurses’ strikes gets underway.
The strike action now seems certain to go ahead following the breakdown of talks at the Workplace Relations Commission yesterday.
The Health Services Executive (HSE) has warned of widespread closures and restrictions of hospital and community services on Wednesday.
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 on Wednesday 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;
The HSE said in the event of the work stoppages taking place planned in-patient and day-case surgery in hospitals will be cancelled. It said all out-patient appointments will be also not go ahead, including adult, maternity and paediatric appointments.
Wednesday’s strike action comes as hospitals across the country are already struggling to cope with admissions during the busy ‘flu season’.
Overall, St Luke’s Hospital has coped comparatively well this winter. Last Thursday 11 patients at the hospital were treated on trolleys and emergency beds, but noone was left waiting for a bed by Friday, according to latest data from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) trolley watch analysis.
Up to 40,000 nurses are set to take part in Wednesday’s strike, the first of six planned stoppages. If the dispute is unresolved, further strikes will 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.
The INMO this weekend called on Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to intervene directly to try head off Wednesday’s strike.