Services at St James's Hospital come to a standstill as unions begin a campaign to end health cuts.

The protest organised by trade unions representing hospital staff resulted in a two-hour work stoppage in which only essential services were maintained.

This afternoon's stoppage at St James's was just the first shot in the battle over the government's cuts in the health service. It was a show of unity right across the hospital's 2,000 employees.

Consultants, doctors, nurses, and non-medical staff joined forces in a show of unity against the cuts. According to hospital staff, the £5 million reduction to their budget will mean the closure of the maternity unit, the bone marrow transplant unit, and other sections of the hospital. 

Reporter Charlie Bird speaks to Dr EP McGuinness and other staff about the protest and the impact cuts will have on hospital services. One doctor describes the situation in Ireland's health care as worse than in third world countries. 

The executive council of the Irish Nurses Organisation (INO) met to draw up the next phase in its campaign against health cuts. The plan includes further work stoppages, a ban on all non-medical work and a curb on admissions. Speaking about the resistance to the cutbacks, PJ Madden of the INO said,

The cuts are unworkable. Our members will not work them because our members will, in turn, end up as just other patients, that's not on.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 29 April 1987. The reporter is Charlie Bird.