The Minister for Health Simon Harris has to address the ongoing issues that have forced Ireland's nurses to strike for only the secondary time in a century, Deputy Carol Nolan says.
Speaking on Wednesday after she had visited nurses on the picket line at Midlands Regional Hospital Tullamore, Deputy Nolan said that she fully supported the 37,000 thousand nurses and midwives who took to the picket lines throughout the state in an ongoing and legitimate fight for better pay and working conditions.
"Nurses were forced to take strike action in order to highlight the need for a health service that is fit for purpose. As we all know, the health service we currently have is of third world standard in many regions where we have an unacceptably high number of children and elderly people languishing on long waiting lists for essential and life changing treatment. We have overcrowded emergency departments, hundreds of patients languishing on hospital trollies every week and the cancellation of surgeries as a result of this ongoing situation. The Minister for Health has no vision for our health service and his inaction in relation to this crisis speaks volumes.
"Many of our hospitals, including the Midlands Regional Hospital Tullamore are still waiting for new beds to be opened as part of the government's Winter Plan, this issue in tandem with the urgent need to recruit more nurses must be urgently addressed. "Nurses out striking on this cold winter's morning are striking to initiate much need change and to afford our brightest and best nurses who have been forced to work abroad due to poor pay and conditions a reason to come home! "Nurses have been more than reasonable and patient with this government for too long and have held the shattered pieces of a broken health service together through their incredible resilience, commitment and dedication. I commend them for their service and acknowledge the excellent care that they give to patients despite the ongoing,unacceptable pressures and dire working conditions that they endure daily. I fully support the nurses and stand in solidarity with them today," Deputy Nolan concluded.