More than 1,000 healthcare workers across Cork are to go on strike tomorrow with the HSE expecting a significant impact on services and patients in the region and across the country.
The action comes as more than 7,000 staff, including healthcare assistants, hospital chefs and other health service support staff, across Ireland, seek pay increases of about €21 million.
The South/South West Hospital Group said the following hospitals will be impacted:
- Cork University Hospital
- Cork University Maternity Hospital
- University Hospital Kerry
- Mallow General Hospital
- South Infirmary Hospital
- South Tipperary General Hospital
- Mercy University Hospital
"All patients whose scheduled appointment/procedure are being affected are being contacted by their hospital. All affected patients will be issued with a further appointment/procedure date as soon as possible," a spokesperson said.
In general Outpatient appointments are not affected, they added.
Of the 750 support staff in Cork University Hospital, 94% recently voted for industrial action up to 24 hours and for possible strike action which would see the full withdrawal of labour, SIPTU revealed.
SIPTU organiser for the Cork region, Sharon Cregan, told The Echo: “None of us want to be in this situation but the government has forced us into this action.
“Industrial action by such a large amount of workers would see hospital services lose the backbone of its’ workforce in some cases.
“It’s extremely regrettable that it has come to this,” added Ms Cregan.
She said the action could have been avoided if the government had stepped in and negotiated to fulfil their side of the Lansdowne Road Agreement.
In a statement released yesterday, the HSE said it had begun contingency planning with SIPTU in a bid to ensure minimum disruption to services and to ensure “that essential daily care remains in place.”
“While every effort will be made to minimise impact on patients, industrial action involving these essential staff will have a significant impact on services,” the HSE admitted.
Patients will be informed if a scheduled procedure or service will be affected by the dispute, the health service added.