Nurses take dispute to County Hospital

The nurses dispute will makes its biggest impact on Roscommon County Hospital yet this Friday when the facility is selected with Roscommon Mental Health Services for the one-hour work stoppage.    The Irish Nurses Organisation (INO) and the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) have announced that Roscommon County Hospital and Roscommon Mental Health Services will be affected in Phase 2 of their campaign of work stoppages which began earlier this week.   The work stoppages at the facilities in Co. Roscommon will take place this Friday between 11 am and 12 mid-day.   Both unions say in a statement that all essential emergency nursing care will be provided during the stoppage. However the statement goes on to say that planned elective work out-patients and day services will be affected.   The unions are also implementing work stoppages at Beaumont Hospital Dublin and St Ita’s Hospital in Portrane.    The INO and PNA have agreed that critical treatments will not be affected by these short work stoppages which they say have been designed, with the duration of one hour, to cause minimal disruption to patients while maximising further disruption to management.   Local Dail Deputy Denis Naughten (Fine Gael) has called on the Taoiseach to directly intervene in the ongoing nurses’ dispute and make available his negotiating skills to resolve the current impasse.          The local TD made his call following the announcement by the Nursing unions that industrial action is to hit local health services in the coming days.   The refusal by Government and the Minister for Health to take responsibility for health policy in the midst of a nationwide health crisis is ‘threatening patient care and safety’ continued the General Election candidate for Roscommon/South Leitrim.    "Patient safety is suffering because the Government refuses to get involved in any one of the growing number of disputes within the health service. The hands-off approach to health issues adopted by the Taoiseach and Minister Harney is grossly irresponsible at this time of crisis. Not only have we got the industrial action by 40,000 nurses but there are also ongoing disputes with hospital consultants, dentists and community pharmacists, all of which will have an impact on the delivery of our health service.   "This current crop of crises could inflict lasting damage on the health service unless swift action is taken, yet the Taoiseach refuses point-blank to get involved while Minister Harney continues to hide behind the HSE.   "In the dying days of this Dáil the Government must take direct action before patient safety is compromised any further."  Speaking earlier this week about Phase 2 of the nurses’ action, INO General Secretary Liam Doran said: ‘The health employers are obviously engaged in brinkmanship with regard to this dispute in their failure to commit to the re-commencement of meaningful negotiations aimed at resolving the outstanding issues of a 35-hour week for nursing and midwifery staff and the elimination of a pay anomaly which sees nurses and midwives treated as a lesser professional than others.  While we have a mandate to continue this escalation it remains our preference that real negotiations on these claims would commence without further delay. However, our members’ commitment