Deputy Mattie McGrath
Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said he fully understands why nurses at St Patrick’s Hospital, Cashel and St. Anthony’s Unit in Clonmel have voted overwhelmingly for some form of industrial action in order to highlight chronic staff shortages at both facilities.
Deputy McGrath was speaking after 98% of nurses approved the ballot action, citing growing fears for patient safety as their key concern. “The HSE and the Health Boards before it have toyed with the fate of St Anthony’s Unit since at least 2001 when The South Eastern Health Board sought to transfer the patients from the unit in order to reduce capacity issues at St Joseph's Hospital, as it was then. Then last year the HSE announced 50 additional beds between St Patrick’s and St Anthony’s while at the same time doing absolutely nothing to either retain current staff numbers or increase staff recruitment. At this point it is absolutely clear that the nurse and frontline staff are sick and tired of being left to carry the can.
“The nurses are providing heroic work given the circumstances, but they cannot go on being short-changed and undermined by a Minister and a government that seems incapable of effectively addressing issues around staff recruitment and retention,” concluded Deputy McGrath.