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Rotunda concerned over public perception of nurses’ strike

Management at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin were concerned that public and media impressions of the nurses’ and midwives’ strike earlier this year did not reflect its impact on maternity services.

According to minutes of the Rotunda’s general board meeting in March, it was noted that “there was a perception by the media/public that maternity care was not impacted by the strike and this needs to be challenged”.

A national nurses’ and midwives’ strike took place in January and February. It was only the second time in the 100-year history of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) that members had gone on strike nationally.

Nurses and midwives said they were seeking to secure safe staffing levels in the health service through pay increases to make the professions more attractive.

In early May, INMO members voted to accept proposals offered to resolve their industrial dispute with 62 per cent voting in favour.

A Rotunda spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI) that the board had raised the issue of perception of the strike “because of the impression that was being reported through the media that maternity services were not being impacted by [the] strike”.

“This was challenged through the executive management team directly with the HSE and national strike committee. OPD [outpatient] appointments were cancelled, planned elective Caesarian sections were deferred, and inductions were cancelled,” the spokesperson told MI. The strike had “a major impact on gynecology as all outpatient appointments were cancelled and elective theatre was cancelled”.

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