Three members of staff who refused to undertake the ‘intimate care’ of elderly female patients at a Co Donegal community hospital have been sent home from work.
The three male workers at St Joseph’s Community Hospital in Stranorlar have all been reinstated since being sent home from their duties.
The three are part of several male staff who have all indicated they will refuse to attend the elderly female patients.
One of the workers, who are all employed as ‘multi-task attendants’ who is refusing to attend the elderly female patients said they simply have a moral objection to the practice.
He added that they have nothing against younger staff assisting elderly female patients but stressed that such practices were not covered in their contracts of work.
He said “We are of a certain age and we simply feel it is not right for us to be asked to be involved in the intimate care of elderly female patients.
“We have spoken to a number of families of these patients and the vast majority of them do not feel comfortable with us being involved in that intimidate care.
“We are uncomfortable about being asked to be present in certain situations such as when these female patients are being showered.”
The workers have contacted their SIPTU union representative to raise the issue.
But they have vowed that they will not engage in such ‘intimate care.’
A spokesperson for the HSE said they are aware of the situation and they are working towards a mutually acceptable position.
The spokesperson said “A small number of male staff employed as Multi Task Attendants at St Joseph’s Hospital have recently expressed objections to carrying out the full range of duties as set out in their contract of employment.
“It should be noted that these duties, which are common everyday practice and a fundamental element of the provision of client care, are undertaken without difficulty or concern by male colleagues within St Joseph’s itself, within other Community Hospitals, and within the general acute hospital sector.
“HSE local management and HR personnel continue to proactively engage with the staff involved and their trade union on a daily basis to reach a mutually acceptable position.”Tags: