HSE working to resume normal service following suspension on nurses’ strike

The HSE says it will do everything it can to restore normal service following the suspension of this week’s nurses strike.

Outpatient appointments are set to go ahead as planned and patients with appointments for today, tomorrow and Thursday are advised to attend as scheduled.

Surgical patients will be contacted by their hospital if their procedure is going ahead.

Nurses could get pay rises of around 7% as part of the Labour Court deal which will be balloted on within the next month.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe refused to be drawn on the details before briefing his Cabinet colleagues but he confirmed he would be recommending acceptance.

“I know at the moment many unions will be considering this issue and I think it’s more appropriate to speak on that matter once I’ve briefed Cabinet on it first,” said Minister Donohoe.

Health Minister Simon Harris is confident the HSE can quickly restore services to the country’s hospitals: “I know our hospitals will be very eager to get people back in as quickly as they possibly can and that will obviously be done on a hospital by hospital basis now that our hospitals have certainty that our nurses and midwives will be in a position to work this week.”

The INMO’s Phil Ní Sheaghdha, says more negotiation is needed on some aspects of the deal: “There is a lot in it and we will have to give a full briefing on Wednesday.”

She said the recommendation “makes progress” across all areas of concern to the INMO, including the key areas of safe staffing and addressing recruitment and retention problems.

Among other proposals it includes:

  • Guaranteed multi-annual funding to maintain safe staffing levels;
  • Significant changes to salary scale and allowances;
  • Increased education and training opportunities;
  • Also, an expert group will examine, in a short period of time, remaining pay and reform issues including those affecting senior management grades.

    The deal is also understood to include the editing of existing salary levels to increase basic pay levels, increasing expenses/ allowances by up to 20% and expanding the expenses/allowances system to ensure thousands of more nurses can access it.

    Meanwhile, patient representatives say the industrial relations system has failed the people of Ireland with the length of time it has taken to get to this point, and lessons should be learned to ensure it does not happen again.