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Staff shortage at Kerry General Hospital now at "unsafe" levels says union

The INMO says a block on hiring is making the problem worse.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

UNION NURSES AT Kerry General Hospital say that there is a shortage of staff at the hospital that has become “unsafe and untenable”.

The INMO say the situation has reached “crisis point” because of a moratorium on recruitment and the failure of the HSE to stick to their own plan.

The union says that the situation is getting worse because the hospital is being asked to take on more patients with the addition of 10 extra beds since January.

This has been done without the hiring of more staff and without the replacement of retiring staff says the INMO’s Michael Dineen:

The situation that currently exists within Kerry General Hospital is unsafe and untenable. Our members are challenged, on a daily basis, to deliver safe and effective care to the patients in their charge. The HSE are failing in their duty of care to both the patients and the staff of the hospital as they have failed to initiate any measures to deal with this crisis.

In particular, the union has pointed to the issue off staff being redeployed from one part of the hospital to another, often exacerbating the staff shortages.

In response to the INMO’s claims, the HSE says that it accepts that there are “certain areas” in the hospital where staffing levels have been “a challenge”.

A regional spokesperson says this is due to “retirements, sick leave and unfilled posts” but insists that “every effort is made to fill approved posts as quickly as possible”.

The HSE also argues that there has also been a programme throughout 2014 to hire additional health care assistants and aids to support one to one care.

The executive also says that it liases with staff representatives on the best way to manage rosters and says when staff are redeployed it is done so on the basis of dependency.

But the IMNO argues that a more direct approach is needed with Dineen saying that a recruitment drive “specific to Kerry General Hospital is need to address this crisis”.

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Rónán Duffy

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