Hospital staff stage walkout to protest recruitment freeze

St. John's Hospital Limerick

CLERICAL staff at University Hospital Limerick and St John’s Hospital in Limerick City staged a walk out on Wednesday (December 6) in protest of the HSE recruitment freeze.

The Limerick hospitals were among 15 hospitals nationwide to stage the lunchtime protest with seven more hospitals doing on Thursday.

The dispute involves the HSE’s decision to carry out a recruitment freeze on clerical and administration workers at a time when hospitals are facing their busiest period.

The staff who staged the walked out are members of the Fórsa trade union. Ashley Connolly, national secretary for health and welfare at Fórsa, said: “Clerical and admin staff at the HSE are not responsible for budget overruns. Despite extensive engagement by Fórsa, the HSE remains unwilling to acknowledge that vacant posts must be filled”.

Meanwhile, the work-to-rule by medical staff at St John’s Hospital in Limerick is continuing.

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Staff have refused to do non-medical clerical duties since last week in protest at staffing levels in the hospitals.

The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) said it is “shocked” and “appalled” at the decision to impose a recruitment freeze.

IMO chair Dr Rachel McNamara said: “This recruitment freeze flies in the face of safe staffing levels. It will add to the chaos in a system which already does not have enough doctors to deliver safe patient care, where many teams across the country are not fully staffed and where NCHDs (non-consultant hospital doctors) are still working illegal and unsafe hours”.