Government actions put patient safety at risk, not nurses’ strike – Ó Caoláin
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, has criticised Minister Varadkar’s comments on the upcoming nurses’ strike, following the rejection of a deal offered to the INMO yesterday.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“Minister Varadkar has said that the nurses’ strike puts patient safety at risk, but he has clearly forgotten that it is in fact the government who have put safety at risk. Minister Varadkar has presided over terrible overcrowding, chronic understaffing and underfunding over his tenure at the Health Department. With 558 vulnerable people on trollies yesterday, it is clear that he has not been effective in making any difference to patient safety.
“It is convenient for Minister Varadkar to lay the blame on nurses rather than examine his own record. Nurses are standing up in the interests of their patients. They see from a ground floor level how compromised patient safety has been. They are acting not in their own interests but for the sake of patient welfare.
“While it is regrettable that industrial action is seen as the only effective way to secure better conditions, it may be the only manner in which nurses’ grievances will be heard. The health service is in complete chaos. Strike action may seem extreme, but it is a last resort action in opposition to conditions that are simply unsafe and unacceptable.
“Minister Varadkar has to stop shifting the blame on over-burdened staff and examine the consequences of both his actions and inaction – which speak far louder than his denial and disavowals. People’s lives are at risk.”