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The Ireland East Hospitals Group (IEHG), which comprises 11 hospitals, requires 46.4 WTE theatre nurses. This includes 15.6 WTE vacancies at Wexford Regional Hospital and 15 vacancies at the Mater Hospital, Dublin.
There are 39 WTE theatre nurse vacancies at the seven-hospital Dublin Midlands Hospital Group, including 20 WTEs at Tallaght Hospital, Dublin, and 16 WTEs at St James’s Hospital, Dublin.
The RCSI Hospitals Group only provided statistics for the HSE hospitals in the Group. There are six WTE vacancies at Connolly Hospital, 3.6 at Our Lady of Lourdes, and 0.8 at Cavan Monaghan Hospitals.
The UL Hospitals Group currently has a deficit of 11.22 WTE theatre nurses. This includes vacancies for three WTEs at University Hospital Limerick and 2.72 at Croom Orthopaedic Hospital.
A spokesperson for the Children’s Hospital Group said its three hospitals are experiencing “challenges” in recruiting theatre nurses “in light of the national shortage of nursing staff in this specialist area”.
The Saolta University Healthcare Group has over 30 theatre nurse vacancies, while the South/South West Hospital Group had not provided information by press time.
The HSE has established a working group to investigate the viability of introducing “theatre assistants”.
An Executive spokesperson told MI this is still being considered within the context of “a range of other initiatives including recruitment and retention in areas where there are skills shortages to protect frontline services to patients”.
Speaking last month to MI, head of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) Mr Liam Doran said the health service had failed to examine how more nurses could be encouraged to go into theatre nursing.
“We would argue vehemently that the best way of dealing with a skill shortage is to grow the skill, not to substitute the skill for some kind of less qualified clinical operative, instead of having a registered professional.”