TUH medical scientists join national picket line
MEDICAL scientists at Tallaght University Hospital have today taken to the picket line as part of national industrial action.
The industrial action will see the withdrawal of routine laboratory services from 8am to 8pm, which is affecting routine hospital and GP services nationwide.
The union representing medical scientists, the Medical Laboratory Scientists Association (MLSA), said it has made every effort to avoid today’s disruption to patients and fellow healthcare workers but has been left with no alternative.
In a message on its Facebook page this morning, Tallaght University Hospital (TUH) said that the scheduled day of action will have a ‘significant’ impact on all hospital services.
Postponed services at the local hospital include some elective surgery, out-patient clinics, GP bloods and some day services.
According to TUH: “If you have an appointment to attend the hospital today please do so unless you have heard from the hospital to reschedule.
“Please note the ED will remain open, as arrangements have been made to ensure a service continues but we do anticipate delays as a result.”
MLSA Chairperson Kevin O’Boyle said that medical scientists did not want to take this action.
However, he said there is ‘huge frustration and burn-out’ because of a severe recruitment and retention problem which have been ignored by the HSE and Department of Health.
“Up to 20 per cent of approved Medical Scientist posts are unfilled in public hospitals and this problem is worsening”, Mr O’Boyle said.
“Medical Scientists carry out identical work to other colleagues in hospital laboratories, yet are paid on average 8 per cent less.
“Medical Laboratory Aides who report to Medical Scientists start on a higher salary.”
He added: “Medical Scientists have fewer career development opportunities and less training and education supports than comparable colleagues.
“Against this the role for laboratory diagnostics is expanding with increasing responsibility and workloads.
“It is not sustainable to continue like this.
“We need an effective work structure for this profession which can secure and retain the staffing levels required.
“Resolving these issues will benefit patients and the efficiency of health services they receive.”
The MLSA said the Union is seeking meaningful talks with the HSE and Department of Health.
Pick up The Echo Newspaper on Thursday, May 19, for further coverage.