Deputy Pearse Doherty has blamed what he says is ‘Government arrogance and ineptitude’ for having forced nurses and midwives to strike.
The Donegal TD was responding to the INMO announcement of scheduled 24 hour strikes on January 30th with further strikes to follow if no resolution is reached.
Deputy Doherty said this week’s announcement of strike action by the INMO, which represents 40,000 nurses and midwives, is an unfortunate but inevitable result of a lacklustre Government that has totally failed to address a recruitment and retention crisis within the health service.
He said “Sinn Féin has continually pressed the Government to engage directly with nurses, midwives and their representatives to find real solutions yet instead Ministers have decided to play tough to the public.
“Strike action by nurses and midwives has been a reality for some time now and while a strike is the last thing nurses and midwives, or any medical professional wants to have to undertake, they have been forced to undertake this action due to the ignorance, arrogance, and ineptitude of this government.
“Members of the INMO have not taken this decision lightly – this is their last resort because they have been left with no option.”
He added we are now in a position where the HSE receives only one application for every four vacancies advertised, and where psychiatric nursing vacancies have increased by almost 40 per cent.
“This has led to a deterioration in the conditions of our hospitals, including our own local acute pubic hospital Letterkenny University Hospital, and has deeply affected the morale of nursing staff.
“It is also symptomatic of a recruitment and retention crisis that the government is now ignoring by throwing money at agency staff. And while the government claims that a stable nursing workforce would compromise budgetary policy, they have threatened nurses with a raft of harsh measures rather than engage directly with them.
“My party and I have called on the Government to re-establish the Public Service Pay Commission with a new independent chair with a mandate to examine recruitment and retention issues objectively. They refused to do so.
“We called on the Government to bring forward full pay equality by the beginning of 2020 in a manner that was fully funded and would have benefited 10,000 of our nurses. Instead they decided to offer tax-breaks to landlords and bankers.
“Nurses and midwives therefore deserve our support and we should support them in their demand for a better health service which treats them as essential skilled workers with dignity and value.”Tags: