CORK University Hospital (CUH) won’t be able to open more wards until the HSE recruitment crisis is solved, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation.
With an ongoing trolley crisis in CUH and throughout the country, Liam Conway, INMO Industrial Relations Officer for the South, claims there are currently over 50 vacancies in the hospital.
“This is just for the wards that we have open,” he said.
“If we had more staff, we could open more wards.
“We could fill two wards with the number of people who are on trolleys daily.”
Mr Conway said that the HSE has a ‘recruitment embargo’ which is contributing to these staff shortages.
The HSE has previously denied there is a recruitment embargo, claiming that all recruitment must operate within the HSE’s budget and financial limitations.
“In the summer of 2019, a memo was circulated to HSE management, which said that every post, whether it be a newly created post, a vacant post, or opened due to retirement, must be signed off individually by central HSE management in Dublin,” Mr Conway told The Echo.
“This means CUH management needs approval from the HSE headquarters in Dublin to fill a vacancy. This has created a huge backlog in filling roles and has impacted on the service.”
Mr Conway says an overhaul of the current recruitment process needs to happen as a matter of urgency.
“There also needs to be capital investment and an increase in bed capacity in CUH.”
According to Mr Conway, thereare no signs of improvement in the trolley crisis.
“It’s all year round, 24/7/365,” he said.
“It’s been getting worse for the past decade.
“Winter sees an increase, but even in the summer of 2019, we had trolley levels that we would see in winter. There is no let-up.”
When contacted about its recruitment practices, the HSE said: “The HSE is required to manage resources within funded levels.
“To ensure adherence to this, structures and processes are required. We acknowledge the challenge facing all managers within the HSE to ensure the appropriate use of resources and to work within allocated levels.
“This on occasion can cause minor delays.”
A spokesperson for CUH said: “All wards in Cork University Hospital are open and fully operational. Recruitment of staff nurses is on-going, with interviews held weekly.”