INMO members at University Hospital Limerick have commenced a ballot for industrial action this Wednesday over the refusal of hospital management to attend talks at the Workplace Relations Commission.
The INMO represents over 1,000 nurses on site who are frustrated at the approach to date by management to resolving the persistent high nurse vacancy rates and other related issues.
Among nurses’ concerns are the risks to patients, overcrowding in a Covid-19 environment and excessive workloads arising due to unfilled funded nursing posts in wards, emergency department and theatres. To date management have declined to provide the INMO with the vacancy rate.
Mary Fogarty INMO Assistant Director of Industrial Relations said: “It is imperative that these vacancies are filled prior to the opening of 96 much needed additional beds on site. However many of the wards also have historical low staffing levels and need additional nurses to cope with the demands of the Covid-19 environment.
“Nurses at UHL are exhausted after a very tough winter with record overcrowding levels, followed by a pandemic. They are telling us the vacancy rate is as high as 17-20% in the emergency department and 30% on some wards, making it impossible to maintain patient and staff safety and cope with the Covid environment. The ongoing refusal of management to attend the WRC will only lead to delays in opening additional beds at the hospital”.