Emergency Situation at Landspítali

“There is an emergency situation at Landspítali [National University Hospital],” according to Páll Matthíasson, the hospital’s director. “So far, things have worked out with God’s help, the help of good people, rearrangements, and a great amount of work,” he told mbl.is. The overtime ban of Icelandic midwives took effect at midnight.

“Up to this point,” Páll continued, “the resignations of midwives have hit the ward of pregnant women hard, as well as the ward of women who have just delivered. The overtime ban will hit other wards hard, among them the delivery ward. The [overtime] ban makes it harder for us to reach out to other hospitals that have provided us with service, such as in Akureyri and Akranes, due to the work load in those places.”

“We must ask for an exception from the overtime ban for midwives to meet minimal staffing requirements on the wards, and we applied for an exception for the night shift and the day shift during the ban,” Páll explained. He added that hospital staff has worked night and day to adjust to the situation and to prevent an emergency situation from developing.

The next negotiating meeting between midwives and the state mediator is scheduled for Monday. Hundreds of people gathered yesterday in support of midwives at Austurvöllur square in Reykjavík.

Icelandic midwives have been without a contract for ten months. Their case was referred to the state mediator in early February. An agreement was reached between the negotiating parties at the end of May, but members of the Association of Icelandic Midwives overwhelmingly voted against the agreement in June.

On July 1, midwives approved with 90 percent of the vote to impose an overtime ban. That same day, the resignations of 12 of them took effect at Landspítali. Numerous additional resignations will become effective later this summer and in the fall.


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