Striking doctors claim big support
on 08/10/2013 14:31:51
Junior doctors have claimed strong public support for their strike over working hours.
Fifty-one hospitals have been hit by the walk-out by 3,000 non-consultant hospital doctors with pickets placed outside at least eight hospitals.
Dr John Donnellan, of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), blamed the HSE for the withdrawal of services.
"Responsibility for this day of action rests fairly and squarely with the HSE who have abused the position of NCHDs for over a decade," he said.
"Throughout that time they have misled doctors, they have broken promises and commitments and they have ignored their obligations under EU law.
"As a result they are presiding over an unsafe working environment where the health of patients and that of our own NCHD colleagues is routinely put at risk. Today we are saying loud and clear - enough is enough we are not taking this anymore."
The strike began at 7am and will continue until midnight tonight with hospitals operating at a Sunday standard.
Scores of doctors picketed the Mater, Beaumont, St Vincent's and Connolly hospitals in Dublin and outside the capital in Cork University, Tullamore, Portiuncula and the Mercy in Cork.
The IMO said that doctors on the pickets were reporting strong support for the action from members of the public and from colleagues in the hospitals.
The doctors' strike follows weeks of failed negotiations with the HSE over shifts that run for more than 24 hours.
Doctors will carry out any required transplant and dialysis service and the normal weekend palliative care, attend for patients who are undergoing active chemotherapy and radiotherapy which cannot be deferred and any unforeseen major incident.
About 12,000 outpatient appointments have been cancelled as a result and about 3,000 operations have had to be postponed.