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Image / Editorial

Nurses strike: What you need to know


by Jennifer McShane
30th Jan 2019
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Nearly 40,000 nurses and midwives across the country will take to the picket lines today, Wednesday, January 30 to protest low pay and a failure to retain the appropriate staff. Understaffing has now reached “critical” levels.

Despite the government attempting to intervene, no agreement could be met on the requests so, members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) will strike for 24-hours, from 8am on Wednesday until 8am on Thursday. It will take place across all public hospitals, healthcare facilities and community healthcare services.

Related: Why IMAGE Publications will #StandWithNurses

Should their requests to the government not be met, the nurses will strike a further five days in February. Here at IMAGE, we fully support those on strike.

Below, in brief, is what you need to know as the strike starts today.

I am due an appointment at my local hospital today, what should I do? 

All outpatient appointments in all hospitals – adult, children’s and maternity – are cancelled for the day.

I am due an operation on Wednesday – is it cancelled? 

Inpatient surgery (staying overnight after a procedure) is cancelled, except for cancer surgery. Day case procedures, which do not involve an overnight stay, are also cancelled. All routine community nursing services and health centre clinics where nurses participate will also be cancelled.

What if I become unwell on Wednesday?

Emergency departments will be open, for both adult and children. The HSE is advising people to attend only “if absolutely necessary”  as all emergency departments will have a much-reduced number of nurses working.

I’m pregnant (and near my due date!), what should I do if I need medical attention on Wednesday?

Pregnant women who need urgent assessment due to the cancellation of an appointment are advised to go to the emergency admission room of their maternity hospital.  Delivery suites, special care baby units and neonatal units, and home birth services will be operating.

Related: Nurses strike: HSE shares information on the affected services

What health services will be going ahead?

  • Urgent cancer surgery – you will be contacted directly by hospitals about your surgery
  • Maternity services (Delivery suites, home births, special care baby units, neonatal)
  • Colposcopy services
  • Oncology services (chemotherapy and radiotherapy)
  • Dialysis
  • Planned obstetric procedures (based on clinical need)
  • Planned essential services delivered at home
  • Residential care of older people and people with intellectual disability in centres operated by the HSE and specified agencies
  • Palliative care
  • Limited newborn screening will be available

For more information visit the HSE website.