Wednesday, March 25, 2020

IN the midst of one of the biggest healthcare challenges to hit this country, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) came out to say that clamping nurses’ cars at hospitals was “exceptionally unhelpful”.

The comment came after two nurses’ cars at University Hospital Waterford (UHW) were clamped.

One nurse had been working in St Otteran’s Hospital before being called on to work at UHW. The staff car park was full, but she parked in an area reserved for the Royal College of Surgeons, who only use these spaces on a certain day, which wasn’t the day in question. When she went out to move the car she saw it was clamped and had to pay €100 to get it removed. On top of that she missed her lunch hour and only managed to have a slice of brown bread in a 13 hour shift. Meanwhile, another nurse went out after her shift late at night to find her car had been clamped. However, she didn’t have the €100 release fee on her and they wouldn’t take the clamp off. She was forced to borrow the money.

A spokesperson for the INMO said: “Hospital car parking charges and clamping are long-standing issues for health workers. We’ve seen reports of nurses being clamped while they’re providing care at work during the coronavirus.

“We raised this issue formally with the HSE late last week, calling on them to issue national guidance to hospitals across the country. We are glad to see that they have issued advice to all hospitals to cease charging health workers for parking during the crisis.

“In the coming months, Ireland will be asking a lot of our health workers. Given that – along with the low numbers of people visiting hospitals – it makes sense that we give some additional leeway and support to health workers. Clamping nurses’ cars at hospitals is exceptionally unhelpful – especially during this crisis.”

Chief Executive Officer of the Health Service Executive Paul Reid publicly directed hospitals and healthcare facilities to immediately suspend car parking charges for HSE staff for the duration of Covid-19. “In this difficult time, it is only right that we should recognise their brave commitment and dedication,” he said.

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