Visitors to St Luke’s Hospital this past fortnight will have been greeted by the sight of a lone protester standing at the gates in the rain, attempting to publicise his plight.
Local man Jim Delaney has been picketing the hospital since Thursday evening two weeks ago. He is demonstrating over a number of different grievances with the hospital management’s treatment of his wife.
Mary Delaney has been a nurse at St Luke’s for over 23 years.
Last year, she visited casualty at the hospital for an injury to her knee. She was given the all-clear, but sought a second opinion elsewhere. A private consultation revealed an injury that later required surgery.
More recently, Dr Brendan Long has issued a certificate of infirmity for Ms Delaney, specifying that she is only capable of sedentary work. Her six-month leave period is over, and she is no longer being paid as the hospital says she must return to work.
She has been offered a post in Kilcreene, which the Delaneys say comprises six hours standing work. Mr Delaney says his wife is incapable of this; she currently requires a crutch, and ultimately may need knee replacement surgery.
“She can’t stand for more than 30 seconds at a time,” he said.
“She cannot work, I am unemployed. We have a mortgage to pay and a nine-year-old child.”
The HSE declined to respond to any specific questions on the issue.
“The HSE, as an employer, does not jeopardise staff members well-being and ensures employees are assigned duties as appropriate (taking account of any clinical guidance and advice),” said a press statement.
“For reasons of confidentiality, the HSE does not discuss the circumstances of individual employees.”
Mr Delaney says he intends to continue his protest until the issue is resolved.