Twelve additional theatre nurses will be allocated to University Hospital Galway in the next two months in the wake of a top level meeting between local Oireachtas politicians, hospital consultants and Health Minister Dr James Reilly in Dublin yesterday (Wednesday ).
The meeting was arranged to discuss the impact on patient care arising from the shortage of theatre nurses at the west’s biggest hospital.
The Minister also undertook to consider the employment of a further 12 student nurses who would be specifically trained as theatre nurses.
Deputy Brian Walsh, one of the local Oireachtas deputation - which included Senator Fidelma Healy Eames and deputies Sean Kyne, Derek Nolan and Ciaran Cannon - which met the minister says this is very good news for the regional hospital.
“It will mean that additional theatre capacity will be freed up and this will have a positive impact on waiting lists which is one of the key areas where UHG is performing poorly on Health Stats [the HSE league table].”
A shortage of theatre nurses has been blamed for the fact that hospital consultants have to compete with each other for theatre space.
Senator Fidelma Healy Eames says the lack of theatre nurses is so “grave” that only 12 out of 16 theatres can be used at best.
“This is causing a serious back up of inpatient, outpatient and emergency patient cases at this major hospital serving Galway and where cancer care is concerned, the entire west and north-west region.
“The situation is unacceptable - patients are suffering, surgeons are frustrated and morale is low. Hence the reason for the hospital’s poor performance on the Health Stat measures.”
The meeting outlined the “seriously negative impact” of the moratorium on front line staff, namely theatre nurses on service delivery and the access to surgery for patients, she said.