Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher has said while he is disappointed by the decision by INMO members to vote for industrial action he described the decision as “not at all surprising given the scale of the crisis in our hospitals and the conditions they are expected to work in.”
Deputy Kelleher said: “We need the Government to wake-up to the crisis in the health service. We need a Minister who is interested in doing the job instead of commentating on the crisis. Minister Varadkar does a great job of talking about the problems in the health service as if he is somehow removed from the process. The Minister has a responsibility to take action to address the crisis in our hospitals.
“Judging by the public comments of the INMO today it is clear the Government has lost of the confidence of nurses across the country. I think it is clear from the result of the INMO ballot that members do not believe in the Government’s health agenda. But how could they? We have had almost five years of false budgets, unrealistic targets and regressive cuts to frontline services.
“The answer to the health service crisis at the moment is more beds and more staff. There was a huge effort put in to address the long Fair Deal waiting list earlier this year as it was thought to be a contributing factor in hospital overcrowding. However despite the fact that the waiting time for the nursing home support scheme is down significantly the crisis in our hospitals has not eased.
“Is it any wonder 92% of nurses have backed industrial action when you look at the chaos in the health service? I hope Minister Varadkar and the HSE will engage with the INMO as a matter of urgency and work to avert any strike action which would not be to anyone’s benefit. It is hard to blame nurses for taking this course of action. They have endured intolerable conditions for the last four years and this should send a strong message to government about just how exasperated our frontline health workers have become.”