File pic of makeshift beds at the Department of Psychiatry
A Fianna Fail Dáil deputy is calling on the Minister for Health and the HSE to take the necessary steps to avoid imminent strike action at the Department of Psychiatry at St. Luke's Hospital.
SIPTU members met with hospital management in April and voiced their concerns about patient safety and overcrowding at the department. A number of proposals were put to management including measures to address overcrowding. The proposals were rejected and SIPTU staff have issued management with their intention to take industrial action.
Deputy Bobby Aylward intends on raising the matter in the Dáil tomorrow (Thursday).
"The situation at the Department of Psychiatry in St. Luke's is very concerning. I have written to the office of the Ceann-Comhairle requesting time for a special Dáil debate tomorrow. The Minister and the HSE must take the necessary steps to avoid strike action as urgently as possible. We cannot accept a situation by which our psychiatric nurses are forced to endure unfair and unsafe working conditions on a daily basis. Overcrowding at the unit has been a persistent problem for months on end and we owe it to the very dedicated staff to reduce admission numbers to safe levels as previously agreed.
"The DOP in St. Luke's has come under serious pressure in recent months. SIPTU staff at the Department of Psychiatry have lodged their intention to take industrial action over patient safety concerns. This DOP consists of 44 beds but due to overcrowding in May and June, patients have been admitted and then told they have to sleep on couches. If the matter is not resolved, shift nurses in the DOP will not take up duty until such time as the numbers reduce to agreed safe level. This is a very sensitive issue which affects some of our most vulnerable people," he said.