UCC president threatens to issue apology over appointments

Head of college says commitment made to fund academic roles in Waterford hospital

UCC president claims the appointments were agreed with former minister for health James Reilly.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

UCC president claims the appointments were agreed with former minister for health James Reilly. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

 
Waterford

UCC president Michael Murphy says he will make the apology at the college’s governing body next month unless the Department of Health fulfils a commitment to fund academic appointments to University Hospital Waterford.

He claims the appointments were agreed with former minister for health James Reilly and former secretary general of the department, Dr Ambrose McLaughlin, in 2013 after UCC backed the reorganisation of hospital services in the southeast.

The reorganisation, part of a national clustering of hospitals into groups, was greeted with suspicion in Waterford where it was perceived as a downgrading of services.

The link-up with UCC played an important role in allaying local concerns, and Waterford Regional Hospital was renamed University Hospital Waterford.

Three professors

Jim Breslin

“The southeast was the subject of intense political turbulence during the development of the hospital groups report,” he wrote.

“There were public protests, letters in newspapers and some very hostile emails, all of which were managed in such a way that the report, when published, achieved an almost universal welcome, including from Waterford.”

Income stream

Last month Dr Murphy wrote to Mr Breslin saying his request for a meeting had gone unacknowledged and unanswered.

He called again for a meeting, after which he would brief the UCC governing body.

“The question is whether I...will set out timelines for implementation or an apology to the people of Waterford for having misled them on grounds of giving credence to the minister and secretary general of the Department of Health.”

The Department of Health said the funding of clinical positions was a matter for the HSE and hospital groups.