People Before Profit Health spokesperson, Deputy Gino Kenny has expressed his support for Non-Consultant Hospital Doctors (NCHDs) following the announcement on Monday of their overwhelming vote for industrial action up to and including strike action.
Deputy Kenny said “The 97% vote in favour of industrial action demonstrates how frustrated and demoralised NCHDs are with their treatment by the HSE and Minister Stephen Donnelly. NCHDs continue to be required to work far in excess of legal and safe working hours, are often unpaid for hours worked, are saddled with high training costs and frequently do not get their annual and study leave. This is a long-running and escalating failure and doctors have had enough”.
Deputy Kenny also pointed out that on the same day as the doctors’ ballot result was announced the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation announced that it is to discuss industrial action with its members in emergency departments due to persistent hospital overcrowding which is not being taken seriously as a workers’ health issue by the HSE.
Deputy Kenny said, “The recent strike action by the Medical Laboratory Scientists Association, the threatened industrial action by doctors, nurses and midwives, and the recent news from the Irish Hospital Consultants Association that at least 1.3 million people, that’s a quarter of the population, are on waiting lists for public health services, gives a grim illustration of an underfunded, neglected public health system that is in free-fall. Urgent action is required from Minister Donnelly to meet the demands of these front-line healthcare workers and to give a firm commitment to fund the establishment of a comprehensive, single-tier universal National Health Service, free at the point of use”
As part of this NHS, Deputy Kenny said “Private hospitals must be taken into public ownership to provide extra capacity that is urgently required to solve the escalating public health crisis”.