Kidneys sent abroad as Beaumont faces staff shortage

Consultants say kidneys may be exported due to lack of doctors to transplant them here

 Beaumont Hospital: It advertised jobs twice but no suitably qualified candidates applied. Consultants say the entry level of €109,000 is a major disincentive. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Beaumont Hospital: It advertised jobs twice but no suitably qualified candidates applied. Consultants say the entry level of €109,000 is a major disincentive. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

 

Kidneys from Irish donors may have to be exported because of a lack of staff to transplant them to recipients here.

Consultants at the national renal transplant programme at Beaumont Hospital say they would cease round-the-clock emergency cover from next month unless new arrangements were agreed to address staff shortages.

The number of transplant surgeons has dropped to four, half the recommended staffing level, since the recent retirement of former Dublin GAA player David Hickey and the return to the Far East of another consultant.

The hospital advertised vacant positions twice but no suitably qualified candidates applied. Consultants say the entry level of €109,000 is a major disincentive to potential applicants. “Transplant surgery is a highly demanding and potentially fraught job at the sharp end of medicine. Those qualified to do it are not prepared to work for the pay offered by the Irish health service,” said one.

Emergency cover

The renal consultants threatened to withdraw cover earlier this month but agreed to defer action following a meeting with HSE deputy director of acute hospitals Angela Fitzgerald.

Ms Fitzgerald admitted the situation was “far from ideal” but expressed confidence a solution would be found to lift the threat to cover arrangements.

Beaumont Hospital blamed the vacancies on a worldwide shortage of surgeons .