Fianna Fáil T.D. for Mayo Lisa Chambers has expressed concern over the number of vacancies at Mayo University Hospital's Maternity Ward.
Speaking on the matter Deputy Chambers said: "I submitted a number of parliamentary questions to the Minister for Health regarding staffing levels at Mayo University Hospital’s maternity ward and the response showed there are 10 WTE vacancies across a number of posts which is extremely concerning. In addition to this, the response stated that the 2014 Birth-Rate Plus review found that Mayo University Hospital was 4.49 WTE below the recommended staffing levels," she said
"This means that not only are there 10 WTE staff vacancies at the maternity ward, filling those vacancies would still not be enough to bring the maternity ward at MUH up to the recommended safe staffing levels.
"Two of the posts vacant are due to maternity leave they are unable to cover. Four posts are awaiting a start date and two more are new posts with campaigns underway. None of the posts vacant, including the posts awaiting a start date, have been funded nationally or allocated to date. It is clear the Mayo University Hospital is not receiving the adequate funding required to reach safe staffing levels at its maternity ward.
"In 2017, 2,022 women attended the maternity ward at Mayo University Hospital; 1,966 in 2018 and as of June this year, 966 women have attended the ward. We have a very busy maternity unit in MUH and we want to ensure we are providing the best possible care and this will only be possible when we have adequate staffing levels. The staff on the maternity ward in MUH do an amazing job and deserve a better working environment and women in Mayo deserve the very best care. This is something I will continue to fight for and I make no apology for that.
"The figures released to me show that Mayo University Hospital has a steady figure of attendees at its maternity ward, however it is clear that current staffing levels at the hospital are not adequate to meet this demand. When Midwives went on strike last year it was because of the unsafe staffing levels in our maternity wards. We need to listen to those midwives who are on the front line and advocating for their patients.
"I am calling on the Minister and the HSE to address the staffing shortages in our maternity wards as a matter of urgency and to fund the posts that have already been approved and to approve a further five posts to meet the requirements for safe staffing levels in Castlebar", concluded Deputy Chambers.