The overcrowded chaos at South Tipperray General Hospital has created massive levels of dissatisfaction among staff.
INMO members at the hospital have voted 94% in favour of taking industrial action over poor staffing levels .
A work to rule by INMO members due to start this Friday has now been deferred to allow consideration of a set of proposals put forward by the HSE following the overwhelming vote in favour of industrial action.
The INMO will put those proposals to another ballot of members today (Wednesday 31st August).
The INMO members will be asked to consider an offer from the HSE to conduct a scientific review of staffing levels in every ward at the hospital, making permanent seventeen temporary nurses and recruitment of twelve healthcare assistants to assist patient care needs.
In a statement issued this week in response to the proposed new forty bed modular unit at Clonmel, the INMO warned that any initiative, seeking to increase bed capacity in the hospital must put patient care as its absolute priority.
The INMO stated that the current situation in Clonmel was totally unacceptable and unsafe for both patients and frontline staff.
“ The daily reality is one of overcrowding and severe understaffing which undermines patient care, compromises patient privacy and leaves staff unable to practice safely” went the statement.
The INMO stated that members in the hospital have recently balloted for industrial action, in protest at the shortage of staff and its impact on the delivery of quality, safe patient care.
The INMO is currently involved in ongoing discussions, with hospital management, seeking to agree measures to address this crisis.
“Against this background the need for additional beds is self-evident. However any additional beds that are brought on stream must be adequately staffed reflecting the care and observation requirements of every patient needing hospitalisation. It is simply not true, and in fact is grossly irresponsible, to suggest that any patient, placed in this “Patient Hotel” would not require high levels of care at every stage of their hospitalisation.
“All patients require care and the patients in Clonmel are entitled to the same level of care as every other patient in a hospital bed” said the INMO.
INMO General Secretary Liam Doran added - “The situation in Clonmel represents an absolute crisis and is a direct result of neglecting the hospital over many years with the resultant loss of nurses due to the moratorium.
“ Efforts to recruit nursing staff have not produced sufficient numbers, to date, leaving the hospital severely understaffed to the detriment of patients and our members.
Any initiative, to increase bed capacity, must be quality assured with the necessary level of additional staff to ensure all patient needs are met.
The crisis in Clonmel is not only about a shortage of beds, it is also about the severe shortage of nurses”, he claimed.