Nurses and HSE differ on ‘staff shortages’ in Cork hospital

Nurses and the HSE are at odds over a reported critical staff shortage at St Finbarr’s Hospital in Cork.

The hosptial provides a residential service for the elderly, but also has rehabilitation patients.

The hospital removed some managers from their roles to undertake frontline care, the Irish Nurses’ and Midwives’ Organisation has claimed.

Mary-Rose Carroll, INMO industrial relations officer for the region, said eight nurses were withdrawn from frontline care and the situation was unsafe.

“There is a big sign outside the hospital, saying it is recruiting staff, but they are hiring people to fill temporary positions, not permanent ones,” she said.

“The post of director of nursing is filled on a temporary basis, and other nurse-management positions remain unfilled.”

Ms Carroll said most of the ward manager positions had been filled on a temporary basis, while all the junior management posts were vacant. She said the situation created huge instability.

The HSE’s Cork Kerry Community Healthcare said there was no reduction in staffing numbers at the hospital, compared to last year.

“Savings have been made by replacing staff sourced through agencies with directly employed staff,” the HSE stated.

“We are completely satisfied that the care at St Finbarr’s continues to be safe, caring, compassionate, and of a high standard.

“We have full confidence that the current management arrangements are appropriate and allow for the high standard of care we provide at all long-stay facilities in Cork and Kerry.”

Ms Carroll said she wrote to the HSE two weeks ago, seeking a meeting, but the health authority had not replied with a date.

The INMO want HSE senior management to restore the agency cover and fill all current vacancies immediately.

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