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‘Critical’ radiology situation at STGH

The claim was made at a SSWHG operational team meeting in November 2016, according to meeting minutes released to the Medical Independent (MI) following a Freedom of Information request.

The issue was raised following correspondence from the hospital to the Group regarding its winter plan.

“The radiology situation in STGH is concerning with two radiologists covering the service and the lack of availability of locum radiologists. The situation was noted as being unsustainable and critical,” the minutes stated.

The comments came a month after the Group agreed that an additional radiologist post was “urgently required” at the hospital.

The minutes noted that the hospital was granted leave to outsource plain films for three months only.

Furthermore, the Group highlighted the “serious shortfall” in staffing levels in radiography at University Hospital Waterford (UHW).

It was agreed “to look at international recruitment via NRS [National Recruitment Service] and to circulate notice to all SSWHG hospitals inviting radiology staff interested in additional earnings”.

Meanwhile, the Group raised concern regarding a shortage of nursing and midwifery staff at both hospitals.

In January, minutes noted that the hospitals were “discussing the possibility of going to the Philippines and India in the hopes of recruiting nurses [and] establishing a panel”.

The Group received a letter from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) in January regarding the nurse shortage in STGH and “the health and safety implications for staff members”.

MI understands that STGH has been using healthcare assistants (HCAs) in response to its nurse shortfall.

Minutes of its Executive Management Team meetings in October stated that agency staff were not able to meet staff nurse  requirements, and that junior and inexperienced nursing staff requiring additional training were being hired.  

A SSWHG spokesperson failed to issue a response by the time of going to press.

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