02 Jul 2022

Significant disruption for Portlaoise Hospital as lab scientists continue industrial action

Doctors in Laois set out their vision for the future of the Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise

Significant delays are expected at Portlaoise Hospital as Laboratory Scientists escalate their industrial action.

The MLSA (Medical Laboratory Scientists Association) say talks on pay and career progression have failed and industrial action is their only option. They downed pipettes for a day last week and will now do so for two days this Tuesday and Wednesday. The planned action will culminate in a three day stoppage on Tuesday, May 31, Wednesday, June 1 and Thursday, June 2. 

It’s estimated that medical scientists at hospitals like Portlaoise are responsible for over 80% of clinical diagnoses that take place on a daily basis. Every time someone goes to the GP for routine bloodwork, a sore throat, or any sort of infection, samples are sent to scientists to process and they provide the diagnosis.

The HSE is warning of significant disruption and service delays at Portlaoise Hospital due to the planned Industrial Action by the MLSA on Tuesday and Wednesday from 8am until 8pm.

According to the HSE, the stoppage will lead to the cancellation of many inpatient and day-case elective procedures and hospital outpatient appointments across the country, including at Portlaoise Hospital. All routine GP testing services will be suspended on both days. Patients currently in Portlaoise Hospital requiring tests will also be affected. However, services that will continue include dialysis and some cancer services.

“From today Monday hospitals are contacting patients directly. As this is a developing situation we would ask patients not to phone hospitals at this time. Hospitals will provide further clarity and details as soon as possible and we will be posting information and updates from hospitals on from later this evening,” the HSE stated.  

“While efforts are continuing to try to avert this action, the HSE is working with the MLSA to ensure arrangements are in place on the days for the provision of a limited range of services safely,” the HSE added. 

They said: “We anticipate that this action will have a knock on effect on Emergency Departments and is expected to lead to delays for patients with non-urgent care needs. Emergency Departments will operate as normal and will prioritise the treatment of the sickest and most urgent patients.”

Appointments and procedures disrupted by the strikes will be rescheduled as soon as possible, concluded the HSE.

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