So, in protest at the overcrowding and calamitously badly organized nature of the health system, the nurses are to go on strike. Sorta.
Except, they wont. They will not walk out. They will in fact merely stage rolling stoppages, which will not include critical care, to takea hospital off emergency cover and thus not able to take patients through the A&E department. Then they will come back in, reopen, and the next one goes off
This wont put any pressure on the HSE or the government. Successive governments have shown themselves immune to stories of the trolly bound horror de jure. And we have elected and reelected them despite moaning about it.
If, and I am not necessarily advocating this, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organization were really to strike, now that would be pressure. I suspect that if they were to down tools, all of them, from 1800 on a Friday evening, by about 1900 there would be utter and total chaos. Unless it went on a long time lives wouldnt be endangered, as the doctors (including perhaps the two medics in the cabinet) could manage. But in all bar the very short run the system would collapse without nurses.
Not going out is, and to their credit, seen as the responsible professional thing to do. Nurses are not in it to deny health care to patients. But the time may come when they have to decide – do we deny care now to get better care for all in the future? In a country which has about 1/2 the acute hospital beds per capita of comparable income countries, the main pressure on A&E is the lack of ability to move people out of triage into the main system. That is further compounded by the lack of ability to move elderly and other dependent patients out when the acute stage of treatment is over.
Not actually going on strike allows the predominantly male powers that be to dismiss the lassies as vapouring wimmins. They are caught in their own professionalism. And that very professionalism is used against them. Expect all sorts of creatures to emerge from the right decrying the nurses, decrying them for in effect being the very professionals most of the right wing screechatariate could only aspire to being.