- 3,000 IMO NCHDs to begin strike action in campaign against dangerously long working hours
- 51 Hospitals will be affected by withdrawal of service for the day
Monday 7th October 2013. Over 3,000 IMO NCHDs will withdraw services from 51 hospitals across the country tomorrow (Tuesday) in an unprecedented Day of Action against the HSE. The day of action is a dramatic escalation of a long running dispute which the IMO has waged with the HSE over the “dangerously long working hours” which NCHDs [Non Consultant Hospital Doctors] are currently forced to work.
Under current arrangements NCHDs (also known as Junior Doctors) are routinely required to work single shifts longer than 24 hours - and routinely up to 36 hours - at a time and up to 100 or more hours a week. Many NCHDs complain of exhaustion and stress and there have been numerous concerns expressed about the risk to patient safety from being seen by exhausted doctors.
Speaking today the Chairman of the IMO NCHD Committee, Dr. John Donnellan, said that health and safety concerns for both patients and for NCHDs were at the root of this dispute; “Our members are worried for the risks they pose to their patients and to themselves by current working conditions. Current working arrangements are in breach of European directives and even the Minister for Health has criticised them. The challenge now is to bring them to an end as quickly as possible.”
Eric Young, Assistant Director of Industrial Relations at the IMO warned that further days of action may follow if the HSE did not engage seriously with the process to end this abuse; “the HSE has ignored this matter for too long and it has relied on the goodwill and professionalism of our members to continue working illegal working hours. They can no longer take our members for granted. They must demonstrate a commitment to engaging with our members in a serious and credible way or there will be further disruptions ahead.”
The Day of Action will begin formally tomorrow (Tues) morning at 7.00am and will continue until midnight