No resolution for St Finbarr’s staff after talks with HSE

No resolution for St Finbarr’s staff after talks with HSE
St. Finbarr's Hospital, Cork.

STAFFING levels at St Finbarr’s Hospital remain in limbo following yesterday’s meeting between the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).

No resolution was found between the two bodies regarding the 21 healthcare positions, currently being covered by agency staff, that the HSE wants to cut.

Cork INMO spokesperson Liam Conway said, “Neither party is happy. The HSE wants to impose these cuts, we are totally in objection to the cuts in their current form.

“We don’t accept that you can operate a service that is barely managing as it is and that is solely down to the expertise and the skill level of the staff that is currently there.” 

Mr Conway warned the cuts would have negative consequences for staff and patients at St Finbarrs, with a knock on effect to the other hospitals that rely on St Finbarr’s to aid the flow of patients.

“We will end up with additional trolleys in CUH and there is no doubt about that," he said, adding that staff shortages will lead to bed closures at the facility.

“[It] will mean a disaster for our emergency services here in Cork," he added.

Mr Conway said the next step was taking the dispute to the Workplace Relations Commission.

“We will be using the national frameworks in terms of resolving the dispute so we will go back to the WRC.”

Mr Conway said the interim measures currently in place are likely to continue into February while negotiations continue.

“We have deferred industrial action back in September to allow this process to continue, we are in process at present.

“There is an interim arrangement that covers the vacancies that are within St Finbarr’s with agencies. We have sought clarity with the HSE that this interim arrangement would remain the same and usually in these cases, where the interim period is extended, we are hopeful that will be agreed if we do pass the deadline of January 31.” 

A HSE spokesperson confirmed that they are working with unions ‘to agree on staffing levels and skill mix at St Finbarr’s Community Hospital.’

“The current level of directly-employed staff at St Finbarr’s will remain the same. Any changes will help to eliminate the use of agency staffing, an issue which has been raised by both management and unions in the past.”

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