Harney: I will not intervene in hospital row

THE Minister for Health, Mary Harney has said she won’t be intervening at Cork University Hospital (CUH) where a public row has broken out over the quality and effectiveness of management at the hospital.

“I am not going to adjudicate as between whose responsibility this is — management or consultant. It is not very encouraging for patients, or for anybody else, to see these public squabbles. I wish they would resolve their difficulties. Good hospitals are run on the basis that everybody works together,” said Ms Harney.

“I know there are issues in Cork because we are moving cancer from one place to another and not everybody is in agreement with that. This is one of the best-funded hospitals in the country and funding has been hugely enhanced in CUH in recent years and, as it happens, it is one of the five hospitals that are not fully co-operating with the NTPF [National Treatment Purchase Fund] so I think there are a lot of issues that everybody in the hospital should work together around,” she added.

Consultants at the hospital on Tuesday called for a “root and branch review” of management structures at the hospital. They also backed their colleague, Mr Jason Kelly whose email decrying patient care at the hospital was leaked to this newspaper earlier this week.

Last night, an Irish Nurses Organisation spokeswoman said there is a growing distance between staff and management at the hospital

“What you have at CUH is a hospital that has expanded rapidly and has turned into a vast corporate structure without any real communication between staff and managers. The excess workload in the hospital is huge and everyone is at breaking point. There isn’t one nurse in the hospital who believes that CUH can take on any more new services,” she said.

A HSE spokesman said yesterday doctors play an important role in management at CUH and that role is to be developed under the new consultant’s contract.

“CUH is satisfied that the hospital will have the physical capacity required to manage the transfer of the symptomatic breast cancer services to CUH. It has also been reiterated by Professor Tom Keane that cancer services will not move from an existing provider to any designated centre until there is the capacity to do so,” she said.


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