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88 vacancies unfilled at Emergency Department at UHL

SARAH O’ DWYER

ALMOST 90% of all job vacancies in the new Emergency Department (ED) at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) have not been filled, Limerick Life can exclusively reveal. It was reported last September that the recruitment drive for the new ED was underway, but the lack of uptake is expected to cause further
delays in opening the new ‘state-of-the-art’ unit. With only eight jobs filled of the 90 on offer in the hospital, the recruitment issue may postpone the ED opening until October 2017. The HSE is insisting that it can still meet its delayed May 2017 date, but the recruitment logjam indicates otherwise. Unions expect a further
delay until October 2017.
All eight of the positions filled are nursing positions, and more than
half of the jobs on offer are nursing positions. It has taken the HSE three months to fill the eight positions. This week 30 more potential
employees are being interviewed with the view to ending the recruitment issues within the busiest Emergency Department in the country.
A spokesperson from ULHG confirmed to Limerick Life that the
hospital saw recruitment as the major issue halting the opening of the new ED and, should the positions be filled by May, the ED will open then.
The contractors currently working on the ED are on target to finish
work by March, according to ULHG. They are due to hand over the project to hospital management by the end of the first quarter this year, and it will “take a number of weeks” for the new department to be equipped and prepared for its official opening in May the Group says.
“Significant training of existing staff will be necessary to allow them
familiarise themselves with the new work environment; new patient flow processes and state-of-the-art new equipment before transferring to the new ED, which will be three times the size of the existing ED,” a spokesperson said previously.
Should “all the pieces of the jigsaw be in place” there will be no further delays to the opening if UHL’s Emergency Department. “Subject to the success of the recruitment campaign and funding, UL Hospitals Group is planning to open the new ED before the end of May 2017.”
However, a spokesperson for the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organ-
isation (INMO) has previously expressed concerns over the likelihood of securing almost 100 additional staff for the new ED.
CEO of UL Hospitals Group Colette Cowan said previously that the
recruitment for these positions remains “probably the biggest chal-
lenge” to the opening of the new ED, adding that there is a significant
shortage” of nursing staff, nationally and internationally.
Sinn Féin TD for Limerick Maurice Quinlivan says that his huge
concern would be that the current ED is not fit for purpose: “We do
have the planned opening of the new A&E but we can’t confirm a
date for that. It was supposed to be late last year, it was supposed to be early this year, it was supposed to be in May. Now we’re hearing it’s back to September/October, but we can’t even confirm that date.”
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