INMO members picketing St Luke's hospital
Umbrellas in the rain, hot soup and sandwiches, even a quiet prayer and a handshake - support for the striking nurses and midwives in Kilkenny came from every corner of the community.
The INMO (Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation) suspended their strike action late on Monday evening but have expressed thanks to all who showed support during the four previous days of industrial action.
There were to have been pickets on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week by INMO members at medical facilities across the Kilkenny-Carlow region: at St Luke’s General Hospital, Kilcreene hospital, Community Care offices, St Columba’s hospital in Thomastown, Castlecomer District Hospital, St Patrick’s Centre on the Kells Road in Kilkenny, Carlow District Hospital and the Sacred Heart hospital in Carlow.
However all outpatient clinics went ahead following intervention in the dispute by the Labour Court on Monday.
The HSE said that all outpatient clinics at facilities across the country will go ahead this week as scheduled.
Kilcreene Orthopaedic Hospital and St Luke’s General Hospital ask all patients with appointments to turn up as normal.
St Luke’s is making every effort to reschedule outpatients’ appointments and cancelled elective surgical day cases within the next few days. Priority will be given to urgent outpatient appointments to ensure that they are facilitated.
All services were resuming on Tuesday, including emergency services, however the HSE warned there may be some delays in the coming days until everything returns to normal.
Patients with surgery scheduled at Kilcreene will be contacted in person by the hospital.
If patients for these two hospitals have any queries they are urged to contact the hospitals on 056-7785000.
In advance of this week’s strike action the local INMO strike committee met again with regional HSE management, at the Lacken HSE offices in Kilkenny, to review and address issues or concerns and discuss contingency planning for the non-acute services during the strike.
Liz Curran, INMO representative, said the support for the nurses and midwives on the picket lines was heartening. Last week in the pouring rain people were driving past and giving out umbrellas to the people on the pickets. She thanked everyone for their support include Sycamore Stores, near St Luke’s and the hospital management itself, who have provided the INMO members with free soup, sandwiches, fruit and tea and coffee. Other cafes have given vouchers, members of the public have arrived with tins of biscuits and chocolates. People have walked up to the nurses to shake their hands and even say a little prayer for them.
“The smallest demonstration means so much,” Ms Curran said.