THERE are no plans to cut the number of surgical procedures planned for Naas General Hospital.
Despite fears about the impact of spending cuts, the hospital is functioning within the financial constraints imposed by the Health Service Executive. Health Minister James Reilly has stated that hospitals which do not operate within budget will not receive additional money.
“Naas Hospital is currently within its budgetary framework and break-even plan,” a HSE spokeswoman told the Leader yesterday (July 4). She added “It is not anticipated, at this stage of the year, that any surgical services will be reduced on site.”
However the HSE has also said it is too early to say whether the Naas facility will be affected by the shortage of junior doctors (Non-Consultant Hospital Doctors). It stated efforts are being made to ensure that the lack of NCHDs and any resulting impact on services is minimised to ensure patient safety is maintained. A recruitment drive for a new intake of junior doctors is currently underway and initiatives are being considered to address the situation to ensure that hospitals continue to offer a high level of care to all patients. The HSE say this includes an overseas recruitment campaign in India and Pakistan which has identified a significant number of junior doctors willing to take up posts in Irish hospitals. These staff are going through a registration process so that they can be placed within the Irish hospital system as soon as possible.
The HSE in Dublin and Mid Leinster is planning for an anticipated shortage of Junior Doctors (NCHDs) that may occur in some areas from this month and hospital managements are working with clinical directors on contingency arrangements which can be implemented in hospitals such as Naas “if and as required”.
The community action group ‘Save Our Hospital’ staged a protest march on Sunday (July 3) in Portlaoise in response to the HSE’s proposals to downgrade surgical and emergency services in the busiest regional hospital in the Midlands, which also serves parts of County Kildare. Industrial Relations Officer with the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, Lorraine Monaghan said: “Outside of the major cities, Portlaoise Hospital is the second busiest regional hospital in the country for emergency presentations. Last year the hospital saw almost 42,000 patients come through the doors of the emergency department. These figures speak for themselves and demonstrate the need to continue to run the ED on a 24/7 basis to serve the people of the region requiring emergency treatment.”