GPs and hospitals will face significant disruption to patient appointments as medical scientists are set to strike on Wednesday.
The strike action is happening over 20-year dispute relating to pay grades and career-progression issues.
Some 2,100 scientists will be striking on Wednesday from 8am-8pm, as organised by the Medical Laboratory Scientists Association (MLSA).
Announcing the strike earlier this month, MLSA chairperson Kevin O’Boyle said scientists want the issues surrounding pay and career development addressed by the HSE, Department of Health and Department of Public Expenditure.
“We regret the difficulties [industrial action] will cause to an already over-burdened health service and to patients awaiting treatment, but there is huge frustration and burn-out among our members because the severe recruitment and retention problems in the sector have been ignored for years,” Mr O’Boyle said.
“Up to 20 per cent of approved medical scientist posts are unfilled in hospitals across the country.
“We have tried to avoid this action but have been left with no alternative.”
Cancellation of appointments
A number of inpatient and day-case elective procedures are being cancelled due to the industrial action, with hospital outpatient appointments across the country also being impacted.
Maternity appointments and routine GP testing appointments are also being cancelled.
Meanwhile, emergency departments will operate as normal and will prioritise patients who need urgent treatment. Delays are expected for those who do not need emergency treatment.
According to the HSE, hospitals have been contacting patients directly to cancel appointments.
Due to industrial action by the Medical Laboratory Scientists Association, there will be disruptions to services on Wednesday 18 May from 8am to 8pm. The hospital will contact you if your appointment or procedure is cancelled. See disruption updates here: https://t.co/ArZz3L1lml pic.twitter.com/8Z9SjUykda
— HSE Ireland (@HSELive) May 17, 2022
However, as it is a developing situation, patients are being asked not to phone hospitals.
Any appointments and procedures disrupted by the strikes will be rescheduled, with further information about the disruption at individual hospitals available at www.hse.ie/disruptions.