‘Grave concerns’ over patient safety in CUH
After 10 agency nursing positions were cut in CUH last Thursday week, nurses in the hospital have expressed fears over the safety of patients.
375 nursing hours were cut in total in an effort to reign in spending at the hospital. The cuts took place immediately.
Member of the Irish Nursing and Midwives Organisation (INMO) had a meeting on Monday 23 to discuss the impact of the cuts on patients and their working conditions.
At the meeting nurses expressed their “grave concerns about the safety of patients”, according to Patsy Doyle, an INMO representative.
“Nurses feel that services will have to be curtailed and beds closed for safety,” if the current situation continues.
Pasty Doyle says that around 50 or 60 nurses have left work in the CUH over the last few months. They have not been replaced due to a freeze on recruitment by the HSE.
“The amount of skills that have been lost since February is critical,” she added.
She slammed the decision to cut agency nursing hours as a “knee-jerk reaction” and a “financial decision based on money alone and an accounting decision”.
Around 15 nurses are expected to move to the CUH from the South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital after the Emergency department there closed last Sunday. The CUH emergency department will now have a bigger workload as a result.
The INMO representative says that they are waiting for nurses from the Mercy University Hospital (MUH) to volunteer to transfer to CUH but doesn’t know how likely this is.
“If the HSE refuse to hire the situation in CUH will be critical. There is only so far that you can stretch. We are very concerned. This is a completely disproportionate measure.” She also branded it “amateurish”.
“Nurses are saying that they are afraid because the hospital will not be able to give the care that is required in the winter.”
The INMO had a five hour meeting with hospital management last week. On foot of the INMO meeting of nurses, the union has asked management to undertake a patient safety audit of the hospital. This would take about two weeks and would be undertaken by Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA).
At the meeting nurses also put it to management that agency nurses should be converted to staff nurses, leading to better value.
Staff feel a patient safety audit would enhance some sort of confidence. “The numbers on trolleys are down but wards are very pressured.” It would be good to “see what the patients have to say,” Patsy Doyle thinks.
“These people making decisions that are the same decisions for CUH as for Roscommon Hospital. Is it correct that they are marketing CUH as a great hospital but they are not hiring anyone? Is that the correct thing to do?”