Solve the nurses’ strike or it will cost patients’ lives, Cork doctor warns 

Solve the nurses’ strike or it will cost patients’ lives, Cork doctor warns 
Dr Doireann O'Leary's own father had two scans cancelled due to the strike action.

PEOPLE will die as a result of the strike action from nurses and midwives which has led to delayed diagnoses and treatment, a Cork doctor has warned.

Nurses and midwives across Cork and Ireland have taken part in three 24-hour strikes since January 30 in a bid to highlight pay disparity and poor working conditions in the sector.

Thousands of appointments and procedures have been cancelled across the country as the HSE reports widespread disruption.

Cork GP, Dr Doireann O’Leary, said lives will be lost.

“Whether that’s as a result of delayed diagnoses or delayed treatment or people feeling they can’t seek treatment in hospitals because of the strike action, I think that this is definitely going to result in people dying.”

Dr O’Leary’s own father had two scans cancelled due to the strike action.

After paying for a private scan in Cork, he was informed he had an advanced form of lung cancer.

Dr O’Leary added: “My mother was told his scans were cancelled due to strike action and his diagnosis was delayed.”

“He has an advanced form of lung cancer now which may not have been as advanced if we had gotten the scan sooner,” she added.

“Like most people out there, my parents would accept the hospital is taking care of them and has their best interests at heart because they might not know exactly what’s going on in terms of strikes.

“They were happy to wait for the scan whereas I knew there was a very serious danger to my dad.

Nurses Ann O’Callaghan, Susan Livingston and Joan Whyte on picket line duty on the second day of the nurses strike outside the Cork University Hospital. Picture Dan Linehan
Nurses Ann O’Callaghan, Susan Livingston and Joan Whyte on picket line duty on the second day of the nurses strike outside the Cork University Hospital. Picture Dan Linehan

“We knew he needed a scan and that there was a concern about the possibility of lung cancer so I got him a next-day appointment in Affidea (for a private scan),” said Dr O’Leary.

“What about the poor people across the country who are being left to die because they don’t know what to do or how serious these delays are?” she asked.

“At least we were able to do something because I’m a doctor and know the risks. We could get a scan but there are people out there who are being left in the dark on this and it will have an impact.

“As soon as my dad went into the scanner, they said he needs to go to hospital straight away as it looks bad.”

Upon arriving at CUH, Dr O’Leary’s father was informed that the tests he required, which were usually performed on Thursday, were also cancelled.

“A consultant in the Mercy, after speaking to the one in CUH, kindly obliged to take care of my dad in the Mercy because he can’t wait any more,” said Dr O’Leary.

“The doctors are bending over backwards to help us by transferring him to the Mercy and working within the situation they’re in,” she added.

Dr O’Leary urged the government to enter discussions with the INMO.

“They need to talk to each other,” she said.

“At the moment, there are no discussions and there needs to be some sort of resolution soon.

“Three further days of strike action next week is extremely concerning and dangerous.”

Meanwhile, Cork man Declan Groeger, who has multiple sclerosis, says he fears his appointment for a catheter change could be cancelled.

The 61-year-old has an appointment for next week when nurses are due to strike again.

He told RTÉ News that he supports the nurses but is worried about cancellations because of the impact on his health.

If his appointment is cancelled he will get a catheter change in Spain if needs be.

The Labour Court was expected to review the current nurses’ dispute today ahead of a three-day strike scheduled for next week.

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