‘Worrying trend’ at WRH

Staff numbers at Waterford Regional Hospital (WRH) have been cut by over 300 since 2007: this startling figure was revealed by the Health Service Executive (HSE) in reply to a parliamentary question tabled by Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghin O’Caoláin.

In a letter issued to Deputy O’Caoláin, HSE (South East Acute Hospitals) General Manager Richard Dooley provided a breakdown of whole time equivalent (WTE) staffing numbers across six different categories at WRH

The decline in staff at Waterford Regional Hospital has been most keenly felt in nursing, with 623.86 WTE staff working there as of January 5th when compared to 753.58 on July 8th 2007.

This news has been described as a “worrying trend” by Senator David Cullinane, and further proof, in the view of City Councillor Mary Roche of “the evisceration of our regional hospital”.

Said Senator Cullinane: “In nursing alone, as of the turn of the year, there are 18 per cent less nursing staff working at WRH than there were seven years ago, and when one looks through the figures, there has been a consistent and steady decline throughout all of that period, which represents a worrying trend that must have consequences for health service provision in the region.”

And with acute hospitals set to be hit with a further four per cent budget cut as revealed in the HSE’s Divisional Service plan, that worrying trend may continue, despite recent advertising for nursing and consultants’ positions at WRH.

Dermot Keyes

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