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Staff shortages continue to cause theatre closures throughout Hospital Groups

The document, obtained by MI following a Freedom of Information request, listed theatre closures across the Hospital Groups in October 2016. It showed that no Group was unaffected by closures during that month.

In the Children’s Hospital Group, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, had two full theatre closures over a six-week period due to staffing shortages, while Temple Street Children’s University Hospital, Dublin, had one theatre closure for the same reason.

Theatre closures were reported in all constituent hospitals at the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group.

At St James’s Hospital, Dublin, for example, there were two-to-three theatres closed per day, depending on nursing shortages on the rota.

In the Ireland East Hospital Group, St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny, had an elective theatre closed because of staffing shortages, and a new theatre had not opened in Wexford General Hospital due to the adjustment of development funding and difficulty in securing specialty theatre nursing staff.

The Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, Dublin, had two ophthalmology theatre sessions and two ENT sessions not staffed, which related to two half-day sessions.

Across the RCSI Hospitals Group, there were two theatres closed because of funding issues.

“Funding for theatre staff for the transplant programme was provided but they never opened due to staffing,” stated the document.

In the Saolta University Health Care Group, Mayo University Hospital, Portiuncula University Hospital, Sligo University Hospital, Letterkenny University Hospital and Galway University Hospitals (GUH) reported theatre closures due to staffing issues. At GUH, an average of 20 sessions per week were impacted.

In the South/South West Hospital Group, Cork University Hospital had a theatre closed on Monday and Friday, which equated to four sessions a week. South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital, Cork, had commenced theatre closures due to staffing issues.

In University Hospital Limerick, there were planned theatre closures that were unrelated to staffing. However, staffing deficits still had a significant impact on theatre access at the hospital.

It said it was unable to provide: Weekend trauma list; colorectal list; ophthalmology list; breast list; dedicated orthopaedic paediatric list; and a maxillofacial list.  

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