The majority of consultant positions at the new major trauma centres (MTCs) in the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin, and Cork University Hospital (CUH), have been filled, according to HSE figures.
The Mater Hospital began providing major trauma services in September 2022 and the service was extended in July this year.
It is expected that when the Mater MTC is fully established, it will receive an additional 1,600 major trauma patients each year.
The HSE said annual funding has been provided to recruit 72 clinical and support staff to develop the first phase of services. Of the 72 posts, 51 are now in place, according to the HSE.
Some 17 of the 72 positions are consultant posts with 14 currently in place. The remaining three are at different stages of the recruitment process, the spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI).
The Cork MTC has been provided with annual funding to appoint an additional 73.9 whole-time equivalent (WTE) staff as part of phase one of a three-phase implementation plan.
CUH commenced major trauma services for patients injured within a 45-minute travel time of the hospital in June 2023.
Of the 73.9 WTEs, 12.4 WTEs (13 posts) are consultant posts. The HSE spokesperson said that of these 13, 10 consultant posts are already recruited while “two further consultants have confirmed start dates”.
Consultants are one of the few exceptions to the newly imposed recruitment embargo being put in place by the HSE.
Separately, in May, MI reported that no “definitive model” has been agreed for a clinical pathway for patients with head injuries in the Mater Hospital MTC.
Work on this issue is continuing between the Mater and Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, this newspaper has been told, and the hospitals “would continue to work collaboratively” in the management of patients with head injuries.
A model for the management of head-injured patients during the first phase of the Mater MTC will see patients requiring an operation for a head injury being managed in Beaumont, according to the HSE spokesperson.
In this regard, two consultant neurosurgeons have been appointed at the Mater who will help facilitate the “timely transfer of patients that need operative intervention between the hospitals”.