The resignation of three senior figures who were attempting to drive reforms of the health service has sparked huge concern among frontline workers, the Irish Nurse and Midwives Organisation has said.
The chairperson of the South/ SouthWest Hospital Group board, Professor Geraldine McCarthy, resigned this week, just days after Tom Keane, chair of the Sláintecare Implementation Advisory Council and Laura Magahy, executive director of Sláintecare, also quit their posts.
INMO general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said the departures from the Sláintecare reform programme has left health workers feeling like the 'bad old days' are returning.
“The Government needs to show they mean business on Sláintecare. These three resignations are a huge concern. It’s time for direct intervention from the Taoiseach,” Ms Ní Sheaghdha said.
She called for the Oireachtas Health Committee to urgently discuss the resignations.
“Sláintecare is a good plan, agreed by all parties. The high-level resignations indicate that government is not prioritising reform,” she said.
The number of patients on trolleys hit 464 yesterday, the highest since the pandemic began.
“Trolley figures are being permitted to grow and grow,” said INMO president Karen McGowan.
“Many of my colleagues across the country are feeling utterly unsupported in their workplace, with no sense that much-needed health service reforms are supported by Government.”
Ms McGowan urged the Government to “seriously recommit” to Slaintecare.
At University Hospital Kerry yesterday, nurse shortages reached a crisis point, trade union SIPTU warned.
The union says there is just one nurse for every 15 patients. Hospital management has acknowledged they are short 100 nurses, branch organiser in the union's health division, Donie Doody said.
He described a grave shortage of staff, and warned skilled ward nurses are quitting due to “pressure, low morale and illness”.
Meanwhile, a patient representative on the Slaintecare council yesterday said she will not resign and intends to be a “thorn in the side” of the HSE.
Roisin Molloy, whose son baby Mark died in Portlaoise Hospital in 2012, said she has learnt the HSE does not ask how to fix problems, but she will continue to raise issues as required.