The HSE has warned that over 2,000 surgeries and appointments have been cancelled due to today’s health support staff strike.
10,000 health support staff, including chefs, cleaners, porters and maternity care assistants, took to the picket lines for the first in a series of 24-hour strikes this morning.
The action is affecting 38 hospitals and healthcare facilities around the country.
Talks aimed at ending the dispute are due get underway at the Workplace Relations Commission tomorrow.
However, a spokesperson for SIPTU said that, at this stage, three further strike days planned for next week are expected to go ahead.
“Unions and workers rights are phrases that need to be on the lips of every person in 2019 and beyond.” - @Rubberbandits
Unreal support from the public for the workers in Limerick University Hospital.
Yurt! ✊#payjusticestrike #payjustice #ourSIPTU pic.twitter.com/PCOLIqMpF6
— SIPTU (@SIPTU) June 26, 2019
In a statement this afternoon, the HSE said the staff involved “make an essential contribution to the effective running of our health services every day” and warned that their absence is affecting patients.
It said the facilities are finding it “challenging” to maintain essential daily care for admitted patients – with “nutrition, hydration, transfer of patients, cleaning and infection control” all affected.
Meanwhile, over 2,000 surgical procedures, scope procedures, and outpatient appointments have been cancelled.
The health service said it is continuing to engage with SIPTU on contingency measures to ensure the “safe delivery of patient services with dignity, care and comfort. “
“In this regard we wish to acknowledge the goodwill and cooperation of our staff,” it said.
The pay dispute centres on a job evaluation scheme which the workers took part in under the Public Service Pay Agreement.
The evaluation found that they are underpaid and should be shifted to a higher band; however, unions say the Government has failed to make an adequate offer.
The HSE said many all Emergency Departments remain open around the country – although many are busy as a result of the strike.
All patients “requiring urgent and emergency care” should attend the ED.
Patients whose procedures have been delayed or cancelled have been contacted.
Further strikes are planned for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday next week if there is no breakthrough in the next round of talks.
A full list of impacted hospitals and facilities is below:
- Cork University Hospital
- Cork University Maternity Hospital
- Kerry University Hospital
- Mallow General Hospital
- South Infirmary Hospital, Cork
- South Tipperary General Hospital
- Wexford General Hospital
- St Lukes Hospital Carlow / Kilkenny
- Mercy Hospital Cork
- Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown
- National Rehabilitation Hospital
- Beaumont Hospital
- St Ita’s Portrane
- Mater Hospital
- St James Hospital
- St Vincent’s University Hospital
- Tallaght Hospital
- Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan
- Louth County Hospital
- Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda
- Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin
- Rotunda Hospital
- Central Mental Hospital
- Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar
- Midland Regional Hospital, Tullamore
- Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise
- Naas General Hospital
- Cavan General Hospital
- Letterkenny University Hospital
- Sligo General Hospital
- Roscommon Hospital
- Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe
- Galway University Hospital
- Merlin Park
- Mayo University Hospital
- UL Hospital Dooradoyle
- UL Maternity Hospital
- UL Orthopaedic Hospital, Croom
Main image shows HSE support staff on strike outside St James' Hospital in Dublin, 26-06-2019. Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews