• There are almost 600 patients on trolleys at hospitals across the country today, according to the Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation, which is preparing to ballot its members on industrial action.

    In this region, the highest number on trolleys is at Sligo University Hospital, where 45 patients are waiting for admission to a bed.

    There are 35 patients on trolleys at Galway University Hospital and 10 patients waiting for a bed at Mayo University Hospital.


    The Irish Medical Organisation claims a lack of beds and resources, rather than doctors and nurses on Christmas holidays, are causing overcrowding in hospitals.

    The IMO was responding to comments the Taoiseach made yesterday, that nurses and hospital consultants should not take holidays in early January.

    Mr Varadkar told the Dail that a new HSE winter plan is needed where hospitals are not effectively closed for seven of the 12 days over Christmas and New Year.

    The Taoiseach said that, in such a plan “consultants would not be on holidays in the first week of the year, particularly those who work in emergency departments and nurses will not be on leave in the first two weeks of January”.

    He said radiology departments and laboratories should be open and operating “at full whack” over Christmas and new year.

    However, Dr Peader Gilligan President of the Irish Medical Organisation said blaming doctors and nurses for the failures of the health system was not appropriate - when the reality is that the lack of capacity is the reason for overcrowding.

  • Thousands of doctors working in public hospitals who are members of The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) are to begin voting from today for strike action.

    The IMO says it’s seeking a mandate from its 3,500 consultant and non-consultant hospital doctor members for industrial action, up to and including withdrawal of services, over pay and recruitment issues.

    They are looking at strike action on foot of “the Government’s continual failure to meaningfully engage on measures to address the recruitment and retention crisis among the medical profession”.

    The ballot will conclude on Tuesday, December 17th.

    The IMO say its key demands are an immediate end to the current two-tier pay system which sees medical specialists appointed after October 2012 paid considerably less than their longer-serving colleagues.

    It also wants an immediate increase in the number of consultants working in public hospitals.

    Former President of the Irish Medical Organisation, Dr. Matthew Sadlier, says they've been left with no choice but to consider this action.

  • HSE staff are handing out leaflets at ports and airports around the country today to raise awareness about the spread of the coronavirus.

    Authorities here have begun stepping up their information campaign as the number of countries at risk of an outbreak increases.

    Two more people in England have tested positive for Covid 19 bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the UK to 15.

    In Italy, more than 400 people have been diagnosed with the virus after an outbreak in the North of the country.

    Here at home, the president of the Irish Medical Organisation Dr. Padraig McGarry says the more important method is to make people aware as the risk is very high in Ireland.

    Dr. McGarry says we cannot stop it from arriving in Ireland but the spread needs to be limited.