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Hospital staff 'coming home crying'

Wednesday, 9th August, 2017 4:52pm

Nurses working in the mental health system in Cork are coming home crying, it was revealed yesterday during the launch of three documents to improve Cork’s healthcare system.

Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire prepared three documents about investing in MUH, CUH and home help and care at home.

They were launched on Leeside by the Cork TD with his partymate Pat Buckley and local SIPTU member Liam Allen. Mr Allen said he supported the three documents.

Among the services the Sinn Féin party want improvements in CUH and MUH are emergency departments, capital spending, agency spending, patient waiting times and mental health among others.

Deputy Buckley, a Cork East TD and Sinn Féin deputy mental health spokesperson said during the launch: “One of the main issues we have in the metal health system is the overall investment that is not getting to the ground.

“We also know that we have huge issues with understaffing.

Unfortunately the staff that are there at the moment are at breaking point. I’ve met a lot of them who are working in the system and a lot of them are coming home crying after a day’s work. That is not a system that anyone can work with.”

Waiting lists and how do deal with them is one aspect of both the CUH and MUH documents.

One of the Sinn Féin (SF) proposals is to use a new, single integrated hospital waiting list management system, called Comhliosta.

Deputy Ó Laoghaire, answering questions to the Cork Independent, said that the most recent outpatient waiting list figure for CUH stood at 23,795, CUMH was at 4,408 and MUH at 4,960. He said these were as up to date as of last Friday.

Similarly, in terms of inpatients on waiting lists, CUH accounted for 1,705, CUMH for 529 and MUH for 1323. The Cork South Central TD said that these are figures that are increasing all the time. He said more people are waiting 18 and 24 months for to be treated.

“It’s leaving a lot of people in pain,” he added.

Under the current system, SF say, waiting lists for outpatient appointments, diagnostics tests, day case and inpatient procedures vary drastically from one public hospital to the next.

The party say that patients do not know where they stand on the list or at what speed their list is moving compared to other hospitals, within a reasonable travelling distance.

Instead, Comhliosta - based on the system that the Portuguese health system uses – works by actively transferring those on the list from hospitals that are failing to meet their targets to hospitals that have the ability to offer the service on time.

Deputy Ó Laoghaire told the Cork Independent: “What we set out to establish was the state of our two acute hospitals, where shortfalls exist and unsurprisingly we found that years of austerity and underinvestment have had a significant impact on our two hospitals.

"It’s meant that CUH has some of the longest waiting times for outpatient and inpatient procedures in the country. There’s also a high degree of pressure in the Mercy too," he said.

Another issue to be tackled, Deputy Ó Laoghaire said, is the use of agency staff instead of employing full time nurses which he says is more expensive and inefficient.

“We don’t have the same long-term commitment. While the pay might be better, the long-term security for employment would be better for all involved,” he said.

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