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'It has left the hospital decimated': INMO warns of severe nursing shortage at Cork hospital

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has claimed the safe care and dignity of residents is now at risk.

Nurses say that staff shortages mean they can't provide adequate care to all residents.
Nurses say that staff shortages mean they can't provide adequate care to all residents.
Image: Lighthunter/Shutterstock

Updated 12.35pm

SHORTAGES IN NURSING staff at St Finbarr’s Hospital in Cork has meant that patient care is now “significantly compromised”, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).

The INMO claimed that the safe care and dignity of residents is now at risk, and that at least 11 additional nurses are required after provision for agency staff was removed by the HSE.

Mary-Rose Carroll, INMO industrial relations officer for the region, told that nurses are so concerned at the situation on the ground that the shortages in staff needed to be highlighted.

She said: “Patient care at St Finbarr’s is suffering as we speak.

It has left the hospital decimated. Patients are getting minimum care. Hygiene is being delayed, medication is being delayed… it’s a shocking state of affairs.

According to the INMO, a directive issued by the HSE to hospital management at St Finbarr’s to cut agency staff employment would have an extremely damaging effect on patient care.

The organisation is calling for the immediate restoration of agency staff cover, and the filling of all current vacancies at the hospital.

“It is particularly bad at this hospital,” she told us.

We need to make all posts in the hospital permanent, including the director of nursing post. And we need to continue employing agency staff right away.

A Hiqa report on the hospital’s residential services last year found that, while generally compliant, “inspectors were not satisfied that the sanitary facilities were adequate to meet the needs and number of residents living in the centre”.

Carroll said that the evidence was there to show that increased staffing was required at the hospital.

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At the beginning of this month, the INMO announced record figures on the number of people in trolleys in Irish emergency departments.

At the time, the organisation said that severe nursing staff shortages had “compounded the negative impact upon patient care” and added that it created “intolerable working conditions”.

The HSE said in a statement: “There is no reduction in staffing numbers at St Finbarr’s when compared to 2016.

“Savings have been made by replacing staff sourced through agencies with directly employed staff. It is important to stress that this means there has been no reduction in the number of staff when compared to 2016.

We are completely satisfied that care at St Finbarr’s continues to be safe, caring, compassionate and of a high standard. We have full confidence that the current management arrangement are appropriate and allow for the high standard of care we provide at all long stay facilities in Cork and Kerry.

Read: There were over 50,000 people on hospital trolleys in the first six months of 2017

Read: Calls for patients to give feedback on their experience in Irish hospitals

About the author:

Sean Murray

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