Nurses on the picket line at the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise. Picture: Luke Wynne
The HSE hospital group that oversees hospitals in Dublin and the midlands has advised the public to seek alternatives to the Emergency Departments.
In a statement issued on the third day of the nursing strike, Thursday, February 7, the Dublin Midland Hospital Group said hospital EDs (A&Es) remain very busy. The hospital oversees hospitals in Portlaoise, Tullamore, Naas and Tallaght. St Jame's, St Lukes and the Coombe hospitals also fall under its remit.
Members of the Irish Nurses Midwives Organisation commenced the third day of strike action from 8am Thursday, February 7. The strike is due to end at 8am on Friday, February 8.
"This means many of our services will not be available today. If you have an appointment or procedure that is cancelled, we will contact you directly to reschedule.
"While Emergency Departments remain open during the INMO Strike action this is with reduced staffing levels.
"The Emergency Departments across the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group are very busy and have a high number of patients waiting for beds and patients are experiencing extended waits. The Hospital Group is reminding members of the public to consider their care options before presenting to the ED.
"We advise that the public only attend our emergency services if absolutely essential. If you are unwell, please go to your GP or pharmacy in the first instance. However, if you are seriously injured or ill or are worried your life is at risk the ED will assess and treat you as a priority.
"We apologise to any patients who are experiencing long waits, while we prioritise the sickest patients," said the statement.
The hospital group advised the public that any updates on the strike action will be posted on our website, in national newspapers and on social media.
In a national statement, the HSE said discussions are ongoing with the INMO in relation securing exemptions to allow for major surgeries, including cancer, to proceed.
In the event that any procedures do go ahead, patients will be contacted directly by the hospitals.
At this stage the HSE confirmed that the following services are affected;
- All outpatient, inpatient and day surgery appointments are cancelled for tomorrow.
- Minor Injury Units will be closed.
- Routine community nursing services and health centre nurse clinics have been cancelled.
- Public day centres and day hospitals for older people or people with disabilities will close.
- All planned admissions, including respite and rehabilitation, to public community nursing units and specified centres for people with intellectual disability have been cancelled.
The HSE said hospitals will be in contact with patients to re-schedule their appointments and surgeries in due course.