Two full-time nurses at St Anne’s community nursing home in Clifden will lose their jobs at the end of August, according to HSE management.
The HSE have confirmed to the SIPTU health union that the nurses’ contracts will not be renewed from August, and further bed closures are now imminent at the hospital.
There are 10 beds currently lying idle in the hospital due to cutbacks in the budget, despite a waiting list of 19 local elderly people desperately needing care.
There has already been €120,000 spent this year in upgrading facilities at the hospital but rather than using the available space, the hospital is closing more beds because of the reduction in care staff.
“There have already been cuts to care hours and bed closures at St Anne’s. Now we are being told by the HSE that nurses who were hired at great expense from India will not have their contracts renewed,” said Kay Harrison, a local SIPTU nursing shop steward.
SIPTU’s organiser in Connemara, Paul Gavin said, “The nurses at St Anne’s have written to their manager expressing their belief that terminating contracts for these two nurses will compromise patient care and safety. The most concerning aspect of these cutbacks is that elderly patients, some of whom have been resident in St Anne’s for years, may be forced to move to private facilities as a result of these planned cutbacks.”
Mr Gavan also expressed his confusion at the attitude of HSE managers in Galway city, “HSE management have finally acknowledged that additional staff are needed and they have authorised permanent vacancies for 2.5 nursing staff to be filled. However, they still intend to terminate the contracts of these two nurses next month. The logical thing to do would be to extend the contracts until such time as permanent nursing staff are appointed and commence work. This would ensure that nursing staff levels would remain at a sufficient level to maintain patient care in the interim period. But as we all know, since when did logic have anything to do with HSE Management?”
“The patients of St Anne’s who have given a lifetime of service to the communities of Clifden and surrounding districts deserve to be treated with dignity and respect in their old age, not as costs on a balance sheet.
“We are calling on Government TDs Éamon Ó Cuiv and Noel Grealish to intervene urgently to stop these cutbacks,” Mr Gavin concluded.