Hospital laboratory services resume after medical scientists strike

Galway Public Hospitals management has assured patients that appointments and procedures will resume as soon as possible this week following the nationwide disruption to services caused by industrial action by scientists medical on Tuesday. They perform critical diagnostic tests on patient samples.

The work stoppage, over what their union the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists (MLSA) calls long-standing pay and career development issues, was also due to take place yesterday (Wednesday). However, this was suspended following an invitation to all bargaining parties to appear before the labor court.

Most medical scientists work in public hospital laboratories, and industrial action by union members has resulted in the withdrawal of routine laboratory services, which has affected hospitals and GP surgeries.

An MLSA spokesperson said it had done everything possible to avoid disrupting patients and healthcare workers, but had no alternative. The union wants to address pressing issues such as vacancies, pay equity, career development and increasing job demands.

“The action follows numerous rounds of unsuccessful talks with the HSE, the Department of Health, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Public Service Agreements Group. In a ballot of MLSA members last November, 98% voted in favor of the action.

The union said there was “huge frustration” and “burnout” among medical scientists due to a “serious recruitment and retention problem” which it said was ignored by employers for many years.

“We need to achieve a sustainable working structure for the profession and this will benefit patients and the quality and efficiency of the healthcare services they receive.”

The union said unresolved issues affecting medical scientists include:

• Up to 20% of approved medical scientist positions go unfilled in hospitals

• Medical scientists do the same work as other colleagues in hospital labs, but are paid an average of eight percent less

• Medical scientists have fewer opportunities for career development and less support for training and education than their comparable colleagues

• The role of laboratory diagnostics is expanding with increasing responsibilities and workloads.

A spokesperson for Saolta University Health Care Group, which runs public hospitals in the west and northwest of the country, said hospitals were working to resume appointments and procedures as quickly as possible yesterday (Wednesday).

“Inevitably, there will still be cancellations of hospitalizations, day surgery and outpatient appointments in hospitals. Hospitals will contact patients directly to inform them of any updates or changes to the provisions. »

The spokesman said routine GP testing and inpatient testing services resumed on Wednesday.

“The HSE would like to acknowledge the continued cooperation of our staff and patients at this time.

Lillian L. Pena