Friday 24 June 2011

Minister circumvents recruitment embargo to reopen UHG theatres (Eire)

The Government has agreed to circumvent the national embargo on recruitment and will appoint a dozen new theatre nurses at University Hospital Galway (UHG).

The decision, confirmed yesterday by Minister for Health Dr James Reilly following a meeting with Galway-based consultants and Oireachtas members, will allow the hospital to start operating theatres at near full capacity again and will help to reduce waiting lists for surgeries.

Currently, every week, nearly one-third (31%) of all surgical theatres at UHG are closed because there is not enough theatre nurses employed to run them at full capacity.

The number of 'whole-time-equivalent' theatre nurses at UHG has fallen by 28 in the space of two years, from 129 in 2009 to just 92 now. There are 16 theatres in the city hospital 7nd on Monday of every week, seven of the hospitals theatres are closed. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays just 12 of the hospital's 16 operating theatres are open; while there are just ten open on Fridays, meaning six are closed.

Galway West Deputy Brain Walsh (FG) led a delegation of Oireachtas members from the constituency along with consultants at UHG to meet with the Minister yesterday.

Following the meeting, Minister Reilly confirmed that he would appoint 12 new theatre nurses to UHG, despite the ban on public sector recruitment. They will be appointed in the next two months.

A further three nurses will also be provided under the National Cancer Control Programme. Minister Reilly also gave a commitment that he would investigate the possibility of appointing a further 12 student theatre nurses to UHG, so that they can be trained-up and help to further increase the capacity to have the theatres operating at full capacity.

See full story in this week's Connacht Tribune. (Dara Bradley)


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The Operating Theatre Journal, OTJ, is published monthly and distributed to every hospital operating theatre department in the UK. The distribution includes both the National Health Service and the Private Sector.

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