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The CEO of the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) in Dún Laoghaire told its board he was “extremely concerned” about “unresolved” staffing deficits raised with the HSE since 2016.
At a board meeting on 29 July, CEO Mr Derek Greene said the greatest risk to providing safe and appropriate care to NRH patients was “our staffing levels”.
An NRH spokesperson told the Medical Independent the original workforce planning document submitted in 2016 was for approximately 125 posts across clinical and support services. The HSE asked for this figure to be “prioritised” and it was revised to approximately 65 clinical posts at a cost of about €5 million.
This was “further prioritised” with the HSE to approximately 35 clinical posts and “to date, we have received approximately 17 of these posts”, according to the NRH. The cost was in the region of €1.9 million.
“As a tertiary rehabilitation centre and provider of complex specialist rehabilitation, the adequate level of intensity of patient services is vital to deliver the quality, safe and appropriate treatment programmes required by our patient population,” said the NRH’s spokesperson.
“Following consultation with the HSE, it has been necessary for the NRH to reduce its existing bed capacity by four beds to enable the hospital to provide a safe and appropriate level of care to patients from within existing resources.
“In January 2016, a detailed workforce planning document was submitted to the HSE for the additional staffing required to ensure that NRH beds, given their scarcity, should be fully available at all times. This submission is still under ongoing consideration by the HSE.”
According to the hospital’s 2018 annual report, the brain injury waiting list of more than 230 patients for 56 rehabilitation beds had resulted in “long delays in admission”.