Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Two Mayo TDs raised the need for an audit and a special delivery unit at Mayo University Hospital (MUH) to help ease excessive workloads and staffing pressures there.

INMO members at MUH protested outside the hospital on Monday to highlight that they are unable to take adequate breaks or use their annual leave due to their excessive workloads and that despite formal grievances raised by staff and union escalation to the Saolta hospital group, no improvements have been made to working conditions.

Deputy Alan Dillon and Deputy Rose Conway-Walsh both raised the issue at Dáil Éireann in separate debates yesterday.

Addressing An Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Deputy Dillon, who attended the protest on Monday, highlighted the issues that the nurses raised, and that there needs to be a full audit into MUH and a special delivery service needs to be installed.

“From speaking with consultants, doctors, patients and everyone at Mayo University Hospital, the position has never seemed as bad as now.

“As someone who cares deeply about our hospital and the unwavering dedication of its staff, it pains me to say that. It is our hospital and it belongs to the people of Mayo and those it serves.

“The shocking stories of patient experiences I have heard through my office and from meeting constituents are infuriating.

“It is time for either an audit or review of Mayo University Hospital and for a special delivery unit to be put in place to ensure issues at the hospital can be addressed once and for all,” Deputy Dillon said.

Deputy Dillon’s full address is below:

In response, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin revealed that the hospital currently employs staff of approximately 1,280.6 whole-time equivalents, with more than 200 additional contracted services staff. He says a significant overseas nursing recruitment campaign is being actively progressed by the Saolta University Health Care Group, which will see 55 positions approved for MUH, with 29 scheduled to arrive in January and 26 in March of 2022.

“In addition, 30 nursing staff are included in a current local recruitment campaign. It is hoped these will take up their positions in the next two months. These will include eight critical care staff and five senior nursing posts.

“The hospital has also increased its healthcare assistant staff by 70% and there have also been appointments to other grades,” An Taoiseach added.

Deputy Conway-Walsh, who also attended Monday’s protest, spoke at a debate on ambulance services where she remarked on the difficulties that staff and patients are facing at MUH.

“Yesterday I joined the nurses outside Mayo University Hospital when they were protesting over conditions and safety. Their main concern was the safety of patients and staff. That should concern the Minister, and it should certainly concern us all. I hear accounts of routine delays in offloading patients at emergency departments due to a lack of capacity.

“The nurses have raised the issue of the severe lack of nursing staff to take over the care of patients from the ambulance personnel. This is the problem arising. Right now in Mayo, the nurse–patient ratio can be as high as 1: 15, instead of 1:7, due to the shortage of staff there. The problem is that ambulances are lined up outside the hospital.

“Two weeks ago I spoke to the family of an 85-year-old woman, a cancer patient, who had to wait outside Mayo University Hospital for over six hours without morphine on her referral by Westdoc,” Deputy Conway-Walsh said.

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