Health chiefs intend cutting 52 agency nurses and midwives filling frontline vacancies in Cork, it was claimed today.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (Inmo) said the positions will be slashed from Wednesday at Cork University Hospital and Cork University Maternity Hospital.
The body accused the Health Service Executive of making the decision “behind closed doors” and without talking to staff.
Patsy Doyle, Inmo industrial relations officer, called on the HSE to re-think the plans claiming it would put patients and staff in danger.
“This decision, if implemented, will compromise the delivery of all services in these flagship hospitals as the staffing cuts are being solely focused upon frontline grades who deliver direct care to patients,” Ms Doyle said.
The Inmo said it met with management earlier this week and said significant savings could be found in generating private work at the hospitals.
The body accussed bosses of ignoring this advice.
The Inmo will meet with management again on Monday to discuss the move.
It said the two hospitals relied on agency staff for a range of duties including 9,000 deliveries per year, neonatal care, maternal support, antenatal and postnatal care, as well as looking after cancer and cardiac patients.
“At this meeting we will be calling for a comprehensive, independent risk assessment to be carried out, before any staffing reductions are implemented, to assess the implications for safe care and this report to be made public and considered by all relevant parties,” Ms Doyle said.