The ability to provide safe patient care will be further compromised as acute hospitals make do with almost €250m less in funding this year, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has warned.
INMO general secretary Liam Doran said there was no way the latest round of cuts could be achieved by efficiencies and new ways of working. “These reductions will hurt,” he warned yesterday.
While a patient’s critical needs would be met, standards would drop in other “small” ways because nurses were just too busy and short-staffed.
Mr Doran said patients would have to wait longer for their medication when a nurse was caught up on other business. Patients would also have to wait longer to be prepared for a procedure and, post-operatively, would not be observed as often as they should be. Also, post-operatively, patients would not be mobilised as quickly as they should be.
Cork University Hospital was the only hospital to get an increase in its 2014 budget. It received €271.94m — a €2.7m increase based on its 2012 out-turn of €269.158m
Mr Doran said the increase was a further indication of the move to centralise acute work at CUH.
Some of the larger cuts in funding in the south of the country were Waterford Regional Hospital — €9m; South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital — €6.8m; Mercy University Hospital — €5.3m; and South Tipperary Hospital — €4m.
Mr Doran said efficiencies had been achieved, but could not continue with cut after cut in funding.
Mr Doran said the Government could have raised funds for the health service by putting a tax on sugar saturated drinks, cigarettes and alcohol.
“Taxing bad habits and giving the money raised to the health service would allow it to maintain a quantum and quality of service demanded by patients.
“My heart is broken by the continued approach of the Government towards the public health service. They continue to view it as some place that continues to be inefficient; continues to be some black hole for taxpayer’s money and continues to be something they can pluck money from and no-one will be hurt.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved