Midwives say unsafe staff levels at Cork

Sat, Aug 4, 2012, 01:00

NURSING UNION representatives have expressed grave concern about the risk to women and their babies in the wake of continued limitations being put on midwife staffing levels at the Republic’s largest maternity hospital.

According to INMO industrial relations officer Patsy Doyle, Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) – which delivers 9,000 babies a year – is some 80 midwives short of the 380 agreed as a safe number at the Labour Court in February 2011.

Ms Doyle said that her members were concerned about the safety of patients at CUMH in the light of an announcement by HSE South management last week that the hospital group which includes CUMH has overspent by €10 million to date.

She said the HSE had indicated the group would have to manage without agency staff, overtime or replacement of staff.

“CUMH deserves to be staffed according to clinical need and not be a casualty of external overspend,” said Ms Doyle, adding that the risks could be resolved by emergency recruitment.

HSE South said the hospitals had to stay within budget for core activities such as emergency and cancer services to be maintained.