Loss of 16 nursing positions ‘beggars belief’

St. Finbarr's Hospital Cork.

The loss of 16 nursing positions at St Finbarr’s Hospital in Cork will increase overcrowding at Cork University Hospital, warns Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin.

He said it “beggars belief” and is “difficult to comprehend” that staffing would be reduced at the facility on the Douglas Rd despite an overwhelming need for its services.

The Cork South Central TD, who is due to meet nursing representatives over the cuts on Monday, said: “The upshot of this decision will, I believe, be a further increase in the number of people waiting on trolleys in CUH’s emergency department.”

He said he had become aware that 16 whole-time equivalent positions were being made redundant at the hospital, meaning a reduction from 110 to 94 nurses.

“I just cannot understand the rationale or the logic behind this decision by the HSE. It’s clearly flawed,” he said.

Instead of reducing staff, Mr Martin said the hospital should be increasing capacity as it is ideally located.

A HSE spokesperson said that there are “no plans” to reduce the number of “directly employed staff” at St Finbarr’s hospital, and “certainly no plans for redundancies”.

The spokesperson said: “Ongoing efforts are being made to recruit nursing staff at St Finbarr’s, and to reduce reliance on the use of expensive agency staff and overtime. This follows a significant increase in the number of directly employed staff in the last three years.”

Michael Martin is due to meet nursing representatives over the cuts on Monday
Michael Martin is due to meet nursing representatives over the cuts on Monday

Mr Martin said agency staff should not be cut before the same number of directly employed nurses are recruited to replace them.

The HSE said a staffing review is under way at St Finbarr’s, with a view to ensuring safe and adequate staffing levels and skills mix to meet the care needs of the residents in long-term care and in the rehabilitation wards.

“Engagement with staff is under way in reviewing rosters to make sure that all staffing resources, including nurses and healthcare assistants, are used to best effect,” said the HSE.

Mr Martin said that the demand for services at the stroke unit, the high dependency unit, and the general wards of St Clare’s and St Oliver’s, has never been greater.

“Both St Clare’s and St. Oliver’s wards are crucially important in freeing up acute hospital beds in Cork University Hospital,” said Mr Martin.

“Reducing the number of nurses working in the hospital will only lead to a reduction in the hospital’s capacity to alleviate the overcrowding in CUH.

“This decision is not acceptable, in my opinion. St Finbarr’s is rightly recognised by the people of Cork as one of the finest nursing homes for older people and for those who need rehabilitative care following illness.”


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