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Enda Kenny says money is there to fill Mater job, but no one has applied

Professor Kevin Walsh, Consultant Cardiologist at the Mater Hospital has raised concerns about resources.

The Mater Hospital Dublin.
The Mater Hospital Dublin.
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has said funding is available to fill a position for an additional consultant at the Mater Hospital in Dublin.

Cardiologists at the hospital have warned that due to the rising number of patients with adult congenital heart defects attending the service, resources have been stretched to a critical point.

Professor Kevin Walsh, Consultant Cardiologist at the Mater Hospital, raised concerns about the resources on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

He said the matter was urgent.

Professor Walsh said they had been waiting for an additional consultant since 2007. Interviews were held, but due to the change in contract, the position was not filled, he said.

Hiring 

The job has now gone back to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for approval, which he said will only push the hiring of a new consultant out until next year.

The professor also said there were additional staff shortages if you compare it to similar services in the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK.

He said the unit should have four full-time consultants, however, it only has two part-time workers.

In terms of specialists nurses, he said the unit should have five, but there are only two employed.

He was also critical that the hospital has three cath labs, but only two are in use.

There is a “million Euro worth of kit just sitting idle,” he said.

Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams asked Taoiseach Enda Kenny about the situation at the hospital in the Dáil today.

“The Taoiseach will agree that this situation is shocking,” he said.

Kenny said he listened to the interview on Morning Ireland with great interest today.

The money is available for the post. This was advertised in terms of an additional cardiologist post in 2012 and again in 2015, but no application was received for the job.
I am not sure if that is because of the range of facilities, remuneration, the structure of the job or whatever else.
These jobs are advertised on a worldwide basis. … the money is there to fill the position, there were no applications. In order for the post to be filled, it is being restructured across both the Mater and Crumlin hospitals and it will be readvertised shortly.

The Taoiseach said it is positive the survival rate for paediatric cases has risen from 10% to 90%, however, an increase in survivors requires a greater need from adult services.

An all-island congenital heart disease network has just recently been agreed upon, said Kenny.

This means children from Northern Ireland will be able to come to Crumlin Hospital for specialist heart surgery.

“It is expected that a greater pool of potential candidates will now be available for the post and recruitment could well be successful. The money is in place to provide for the cardiologist to be appointed. I hope it happens,” said Kenny.

He added that anyone who feels they are suitable for the job should apply.

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