Just before Health Minister Leo Varadkar announced the relocation of Limerick Maternity Hospital to Dooradoyle yesterday, nurses at the facility warned they would be protesting outside the hospital over staffing and resources.
Midwives at the hospital who are members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) and Siptu Nursing are concerned at the standard of care at the hospital.
They have warned that their lunchtime protest this Friday is the start of a campaign to have the HSE respond to the urgent needs of the facility.
INMO industrial relations officer Mary Fogarty said nurses felt compelled to highlight their concerns.
“This will be followed by a ballot for a work to rule in the coming weeks if matters are not resolved,” said Ms Fogarty
Efforts are being made by the HSE to recruit up to 25 midwives, but the INMO believes it is not enough to address the staffing crisis.
Mr Varadkar said the Government would relocate Limerick Maternity Hospital to the main university hospital site at Dooradoyle as part of the Government’s six year €27bn capital plan.
Chief executive of University Limerick Hospitals Group, Prof Colette Cowan, said a site alongside University Hospital Limerick had been identified and work had already commenced on the design.
The current maternity hospital, also known as St Munchin’s, was commissioned in the 1960s. It was designed to cater for about 3,000 births every year but in recent years has dealt with between 4,600 and 5,500.
Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan said the relocation of the maternity hospital to the main university hospital campus would place it at the forefront of maternity care provision.
Meanwhile, Mr Varadkar said he was not going to take the blame for hospital overcrowding — something that had been a problem in the health service since he was a child.
“But I am going to take responsibility for it. It is my job as minister for health to take responsibility for these things,” he said.
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