A stand-off between management and staff at Cork University Hospital (CUH) has ended after agreement was reached regarding beds moved into the acute medical assessment unit (AMAU).
However, sources who spoke to the Medical Independent (MI) said the resolution has still resulted in the unit becoming “less of an AMAU”.
The disagreement began after management transferred permanent beds into the unit, a move that consultants argued resulted in the effective closure of the unit by turning it into a standard ward.
The row lasted for a week as staff and management remained in dispute regarding the matter.
An agreement was finally reached stating that only six permanent beds would be put in place.
However, sources told MI that despite the agreement, the measure had resulted in the unit becoming “less of an AMAU” and more of a “standard ward” because of the introduction of permanent beds.
A hospital spokesperson said there was “no basis for the assertion that the AMAU has been converted into a standard ward”. They said the unit “continues to function as an AMAU”.
The spokesperson confirmed that six beds had been “put into the AMAU to replace trollies to improve patient comfort”.
“There is no basis to the assertion of a stand-off between management and staff,” they added.
The unit, which operates 24/7, opened in 2011 at a cost of €1.4 million. It provides for the acute treatment, observation and investigation of patients where the estimated length-of-stay is less than 48 hours.
Acutely ill medical patients referred to the unit are meant to be seen by a consultant within one hour of arrival and have urgent access to diagnostics.
The unit was introduced on the basis of ensuring that acutely ill patients were seen quickly and treated appropriately outside of the emerge