Staff at Cavan nursing unit to take industrial action over "irresponsible" plan to open new beds

The INMO has condemned a plan to admit patients to a recently refurbished facility in Cavan without recruiting additional staff

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The association representing Irish nurses and midwives has “objected in the strongest possible terms” to a HSE plan to admit patients to a recently refurbished facility in Cavan without recruiting additional staff.

In a statement his evening, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) condemned the plan and warned that members have voted in favour of industrial action if the HSE decides to move forward with it.

The HSE announced this afternoon that they would begin moving patients into the Virginia Community Nursing Unit in Cavan starting tomorrow.

The Unit currently has 26 beds with a potential capacity for a further 30. 

According to the nurses organisation the HSE has “failed to recruit additional staff to open these beds and is now attempting to do so in a manner which must be deemed unsafe and without precedent.”

“In the absence of adequate staffing levels this amounts to an irresponsible act which has the potential to damage the health and well-being of these patients,” reads the statement. 

INMO industrial relations officer, Tony Fitzpatrick said the HSE plan is “grossly irresponsible and demonstrates a reckless disregard for [patients] well-being.”

“Because of management’s behaviour INMO members were left with no option but to ballot for industrial action,” he said.

“The members have voted 100% in favour of industrial action including lunch-time protests, work to rule and withdrawal of labour.”

The INMO has taken the dispute to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) however no agreement has been reached and the organisation has now requested that the issue be referred to the Labour Court.

“We are extremely disappointed that the WRC talks broke down this afternoon and that no solutions have been put forward by the HSE,” said Mr Fitzpatrick.

“We will now serve notice of industrial action to be commenced at the Unit.  We await a date for a hearing in the Labour Court.”

The INMO have written to the Health Safety and Quality Authority (HIQA) to ask them to inspect the facility and “immediately to ensure that patients are protected.”

“In the interests of these vulnerable patients we call upon the HSE to accept the professional judgement of our members and to follow due process before any additional beds can be opened inclusive of the necessary additional staff,” said Mr Fitzpatrick.