The INMO annual delegate conference in Letterkenny received extensive coverage with many reporters in situ over the three days
The Irish Examiner (May 9) ran the headline – Acute trolley crisis shows no signs of abating. “The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has recorded a 103% rise since 2007 in the number of patients on trolleys at a time when 2,279 hospital beds remain closed…
“The INMO trolley figures, circulated at the organisation’s annual delegate conference in Donegal, show between March 11 to May 3, 2007 there were 7,067 patients on trolleys, compared to 14,343 for the same period this year. The 2013 figures include the number of trolleys taken out of emergency departments and placed on wards. This policy of placing extra beds on wards, described by INMO general secretary Liam Doran as ‘a creeping phenomenon’, is meant to be a last resort.”
INMO President Claire Mahon said that “for every additional bed placed on a ward, the risk to every patient increased”.
According to Mr Doran, “the INMO is seeking a minimum staffing ratio of one nurse for every four patients to ’set a floor’ on five successive years of cutbacks… He said management never accept any staffing situation as dangerous and staffing levels were particularly low in maternity units. The INMO is seeking an independent review with recommendations on what is best practice”.
Nurses ‘prepared for war’ if Government implements pay cuts – this was a headline in The Irish Times (May 10).
“Nurses have warned they are ‘prepared for war’ if the Government moves unilaterally to reduce their pay or conditions of employment… The conference unanimously passed an emergency motion yesterday proposing a ballot on industrial action up to and including strikes if the Government moved to cut pay or scale back conditions of employment.”
Liam Doran said “he believed there was an obligation on the union to explore with the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) any alternatives there may be to the Government’s plans to cut the State’s pay bill by €1 billion over three years”.
Dave Hughes, INMO deputy general secretary, said “the great shame about the proposed attack on public servants and their pay was that it was being led by the Labour Party, 100 years after the 1913 lock out”.
Some members were quoted in the Irish Independent (May 10) under a headline – Health workers ‘will strike’ over cuts. “Ann Doyle, a nurse for 33 years in Galway, choked back tears as she told of how she struggled to make ends meet, with her family forced to buy groceries on her credit card.”
Mandy Freeman, a single mum from Dublin “has to support two teenage daughters – one completing her first year at UCD and another doing her Leaving Cert”. Mandy said she “has credit union loans and I rob Peter to pay Paul… and would leave nursing tomorrow if she could find another job”.
Nurses dismiss ‘home help at 2012 levels’ claim – was a headline in The Irish Examiner (May 11). A claim by the health minister that home help and home care package services have been preserved at 2012 levels has been countered by nurses who cited examples of elderly and infirm patients who have had home support hours cut this year.
Mary Keenan, a public health nurse in Co Kildare, said she knows a woman in her 80s with a handicapped daughter in her 50s, who had all their home-help hours removed. Ms Keenan said another patient of hers, a blind, insulin-dependent elderly man, had his home care reduced to 30 minutes a week.
She said patients were being “interrogated by HSE officials when being assessed for home care packages”.
“I mean interrogated about their lives, their finances, their homes, their relatives. Crying on the phone.”
INMO president, Claire Mahon, was quoted in the Irish Daily Mail (May 11) under a headline – Between rock and a hard place: there’s no escape hatch, Reilly tells nurses. She said she had “grave concerns on patient care” and that lack of staffing at the frontline were dominating factors.
She said to the Minister: “I would like you to remember that all of us in this room including you have the safe care of every patient and citizen in this country in our hands.”
The Donegal News Derry People (May 13) reported on the Minister’s address to conference under a headline – Silence and Minister gets in trouble ‘at the day job’ – Minister apologises to nurse as delegates go silent.
“Nurses and midwives gave Health Minister James Reilly the ‘silent treatment’ when he arrived to address their annual conference in Letterkenny on Friday. However, he then caused a storm as he told one nurse who began to sing ‘Enough is Enough’ in protest at pay cuts and cutbacks in the health service to ‘stick to the day job’… she subsequently met Minister Reilly in private, where he apologised to her and said he did not mean to cause her any offence… Mrs Aderemi, a mother of three from Saggart in Dublin, said she had accepted his apology.”
“There was a small amount of heckling to parts of the Minister’s speech but delegates did clap unanimously when he announced the establishment of a new post of Chief Nursing officer at the Department of Health. Minister Reilly said the new post would give a ‘clear voice’ at the heart of the decision making process to nurses and midwives.”
Ann Keating is the INMO media relations officer email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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