Last-ditch efforts underway to avert nurses strike

Rolling stoppages will take place in seven hospitals across the country tomorrow

Last-ditch efforts underway to avert nurses strike

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Talks are continuing at the Workplace Relations Commission this evening, in an effort to avert tomorrow's strike action by nurses in Emergency Departments.

Seven hospitals will be hit - with two hour rolling work stoppages - between 8am and 4pm.

There is growing optimism that a deal can reached.

Health Minister Leo Varadkar says contingency plans are being put in place - but he hopes they won't be needed

"Compared to this day last year overcrowding is down 20%, but we still do have overcrowding in a lot of emergency departments. But the solution to that is not industrial action, it's continuing to implement the plan that we have, which is now working," he said.

The Health Minister confirmed that last-ditch efforts are underway to try and avert tomorrow's nurses strike in emergency departments. 

Last week talks at the Workplace Relations Commission to try and broker a deal broke up without agreement. 

Leo Varadkar said every effort is still being made to try and avert tomorrow's action: 

The Minister said contingency plans are being put into place to ensure that if the strike does go ahead, patient safety and any life-threatening emergencies that arise would be dealt with as normally.

In a statement Beaumont Hospital in Dublin says its emergency department will stay open for the duration of the industrial action.

However it says it is inevitable there will be an impact on elective surgery, inpatient and day case patients.

Anyone affected will be contacted directly by the hospital.

ED nurses voted 92% in favour of the strike, along with another day of action in the New Year.

Earlier this month, the INMO published figures which revealed a 24% increase in the number of people on trolleys in emergency departments between January and November when compared with the same period last year.

Karen McGowan is an Emergency Department nurse at a busy Dublin hospital. She says the move is a last resort: