In supporting a call for improved staffing levels at St Patrick’s Hospital in Cashel at the March meeting of the Regional Health Forum, Cllr Tom Wood asked if the HSE is happy that the Agency Service supplying staff was a “safe service” given the recent national focus on residential centres and safe practices.
In drawing a distinction between filling vacant posts and providing additional staff he said, ” while understaffing was not unique to Saint Patricks due to the moratorium on recruitment in the public service, now thankfully lifted, and dedicated staff at all levels were committed to providing the best service possible, they were under severe pressure and the matter required immediate action.”
In response, Ms Anna Marie Lanigan, Area Manager, said there had been a concerted effort to hire staff in recent months and allied to that revised rostering arrangements and skill-mix had been used to gain efficiencies where achievable. The HSE management acknowledged the dedication of its nursing and support staff and would continue to work to maintain staffing levels and ensure that approved posts were filled as quickly as is possible in order to further reduce/eliminate agency.
She continued, “ while every effort has been made to ensure that appropriate staffing levels are in place at Saint Patricks Hospital, Cashel, at times there can be difficulty securing agency replacement for nurses on short term sick leave. There is a nationwide gap between the number of available positions and the number of registered nurses qualified and willing to fill them. Notwithstanding that, the HSE continues to endeavour to improve direct employee staffing levels at Saint Patricks. Since September 2014 a number of staffing positions have been recruited and appointed. This includes six interm Multi Task Attendants and eight Registered General Nurses. In addition it is expected that two further Multi Task Attendants will be appointed shortly. On April 7th one additional Registered General Nurse is due to commence work at the Hospital.
The national recruitment process is ongoing in relation to further permanent posts for Saint Patricks ie. 11.5 whole time equivalents. Interviews have been held recently to fill two Clinical Nurse Manager positions. In addition it is anticipated that interviews will be scheduled shortly for one Clinical Nurse Manager Grade 2 for the Rehabilitation Unit.”