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Disruption at hospitals as support staff go on strike

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Health service support staff to go on strike at local hospitals

Members of support staff at Letterkenny University Hospital on the picket line this morning. Picture: Brian McDaid

Hundreds of staff at the north west’s two main hospitals are on strike this morning as part of a pay dispute with the Health Service Executive.

Up to 700 support staff are taking part in the action at Letterkenny University Hospital and Sligo University Hospital.

The planned action involves staff providing portering, household and catering services and are employed as health care assistants, maternity care assistants, laboratory aides, chefs and surgical instrument technicians.

Siptu say the dispute is due to “ the failure to implement pay increases arising from an agreed job evaluation scheme”.

The union says the staff affected are the lowest paid grade within the HSE and the wage increases would range between €1,500 and €3,100 per year.

The Saolta University Health Care Group, which runs the two hospitals, said some outpatient clinics have been cancelled although it varies from hospital to hospital. If patients do not hear from their hospital they should attend their appointment as scheduled.

Emergency Departments will remain operational across the group although patients can expect significant delays. 

Critical care areas such as ICU and HDU will function as normal. Chemotherapy treatment and dialysis will proceed as scheduled across the group.

There will be reduced or very limited catering services for both patients and staff in some hospitals in the group.

Saolta said it regrets the inconvenience for patients and will work to reschedule their appointments as quickly as possible.