The facilities, which include some of the largest in the country, are struggling to meet patient needs because staff levels are falling far below what is required.
Figures detailed by trade publication Irish Medical Times show the hospitals are almost 400 staff below the total required to run the facilities.
The most stretched service according to the statistics is Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda, which despite hiring 66 staff since December 2009 is the most under-resourced in terms of personnel according to the HSE’s latest performance monitoring report.
The facility is 74 employees under its approved employment ceiling — a whole-time equivalent variance of -5.11% as of September 2010.
St James’s Hospital, which has lost 82 employees since December 2009, was next with a 71 employee deficit (-1.96%).
Other hospitals struggling to reach stated staff level requirements include Cavan General Hospital, Nenagh General Hospital and Ennis General Hospital.
The facilities were understaffed by 26 (-3.39%), 23 (-8.55%) and 22 (-8.01%) respectively.
The Galway University Hospitals group, which incorporates GUH and the Merlin Park Hospital, also remained in the top five hospitals with the most significant gap in staff numbers after losing 16 employees since August.
It was followed by the Mater Hospital, which in the same period lost 41 employees.
However, despite the difficulties, a number of services are still over their individual staff level requirements.
Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin is currently 63 employees over its official ceiling needs, while the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick is 50 above its own requirements.
A total of 49 employees more than what is officially needed are also working at CUH in Cork, according to the HSE performance monitoring figures.