Nurses pushed to the edge as health service reaches breaking point

INMO members vote overwhelmingly for industrial action

Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo Lisa Chambers says the Health Minister cannot continue to ignore nurses over staffing and capacity issues at Mayo University Hospital. Yesterday, 90% of members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation voted in favour of industrial action, as frustration levels among front line staff boil over into anger.

Deputy Chambers commented, “For too long successive Fine Gael Health Ministers have sat back and allow this situation spiral out of control. Now the reality is that we have more people attending our hospitals while there are fewer nurses on the front line. They are having to work longer hours, in more stressful and dangerous situations, caring for more patients than ever before. This cannot continue. It’s not safe for nurses or patients.

“This is not the first time that nurses at Mayo University Hospital have had to threaten action. Only last month midwives balloted in favour of action because of severe staff shortage at the maternity unit. We are all well aware of the problems in our Emergency Department, but these have spread throughout our hospital and are a source of major concern.

“Over the past 8 years, the number of nurses in the system has fallen by 3.500. When patient numbers are increasing it is simply unsustainable that nursing levels would stay so critically low. Minister Harris has spent the last few days talking up the increased HSE budget for 2017 – now he must ensure that it’s used to increase staff numbers at Mayo University Hospital and the many other hospitals across the country which are chronically under resourced.

“Instead of talking, we need to see real action. Our nurses should not have to be pushed to the end of their tether to the point of industrial action and I am urging Minister Harris to ensure that enough money from this increased HSE budget will be allocated to increasing nursing numbers across the health service”.