Sinn Féin TD for Clare, Violet-Anne Wynne, has expressed concern at the number of unfilled staff vacancies at UHL.
Her comments follow the recent announcement that unions at the UHL group will ballot for industrial action following a lack of engagement of the management team with the workplace relation process.
Teachta Wynne said:
“In response to a Parliamentary Question I submitted to the Minister for Health, I have been informed by the UHL CEO Colette Cowen that there was an average of 91.7 whole time equivalent nursing vacancies within the Group as of the end of July.
“This is truly shocking considering that staffing issues have long been highlighted within the Group.
“We also have reason to believe that this figure doesn’t even scratch the surface in the hospital when one accounts for porter, hygiene workers and catering posts which are also vacant.
“The concerns of the staff and their Unions (INMO and SIPTU) have not been addressed by the hospital and they are now questioning the plans to open two new wards in the hospital when they do not have the staffing to cover shifts at present.
“These figures are truly concerning for the people of the Mid-West and particularly County Clare.
“The recent concerns around cancelled procedures in Ennis General Hospital have been clarified. It would now appear that these staff were re-deployed to cover the shortages in UHL.
“The Minister has to address this ongoing issue of staffing shortages in UHL as a matter of urgency, this simply cannot continue.
“Under normal circumstances this would not be acceptable but in a global pandemic this is beyond belief.”