Cavan, Monaghan hospitals face major cutbacks

Thu, Jan 12, 2012, 00:00

MAJOR CUTBACKS to outpatient department services at hospitals in Cavan and Monaghan are to be introduced by the Health Service Executive.

The HSE in Dublin North East said yesterday a review of outpatient clinics was under way at both hospitals.

It said that while it was intended to continue all clinic services, a reduction in staffing equating to 25 per cent was required. “It is important to reassure all patients that this measure will not result in 25 per cent reduction of clinics,” according to the HSE.

It added that the move was being undertaken to deal with a financial overrun from last year. It has not yet received its official budget for 2012.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation said it had learned that management at Cavan General Hospital had sanctioned cutbacks in the order of 25 per cent to its outpatient department.

The union said that management was also planning to reduce radically elective surgery at the hospital.

It maintained that the cutbacks to the outpatient department services were due to be implemented on Monday, January 23rd.

The nursing union said the plans would lead to excessive waiting times and the extension of waiting lists for patients in what was already an overstretched service.

It maintained that the limiting and reduction of elective surgery in Cavan would mean longer waiting lists and further unnecessary suffering for patients awaiting surgery.

The union also said the HSE move was in breach of the Croke Park agreement and was being implemented without consultation.

The union’s industrial relations officer, Derek Reilly, said: “Members of the INMO are seriously concerned about the effect these cutbacks will have on patients and how safe patient care and safe practice will be maintained.

“The INMO has sought an urgent meeting with management at the hospital to discuss these cutbacks. There is a requirement for the expansion of services in Cavan and not, as is proposed, the further constriction of services.”

The HSE said management had advised staff that the “efficiency measure” would be closely monitored to ensure patients were receiving appropriate outpatient care in both hospitals.

It said it had started an ongoing engagement process with staff before Christmas on the measures that had to be taken to deal with the 2011 overspend.