Staff at Portiuncula Hospital in County Galway have been warned by the HSE that services will be curtailed and jobs put at risk if industrial action threatened by the Irish Nurses Organisation in support of five senior nurse managers who have been on sick leave since last November goes ahead.
The HSE said that five assistant directors of nursing (whose pay scale ranges up to €67,000 before allowances and overtime) went on sick leave following their refusal to co-operate with an investigation into management difficulties at the hospital. The five who are on full sick pay have been referred to the HSE’s occupational health service. Mediation efforts failed and the INO is now threatening to renew industrial action.
The HSE said that a renewal of a ban by the INO on members acting up in place of the nurse managers who had gone on sick leave would put patient safety at risk. The only safe course of action would be to curtail services concentrating on day surgery first, placing temporary staff on protective notice and redeploying staff from areas where cutbacks had to be introduced.