IMPACT to respond if private managers imposed

Friday 11th November 2011

IMPACT has said it will advise members how to respond if the HSE proceeds with its proposal to impose a team of private sector managers in the Limerick hospital group.

The union says that, unlike other regions, there are no senior management vacancies in the area and an existing management team, appointed in the last nine months, has not been given the chance to resolve problems created by the “botched” reconfiguration process.

The union also met senior HSE management at national level after health minister James Reilly announced that he’d issued tenders to private companies to fill new and existing senior management posts in HSE West. In a letter to the minister, IMPACT official Louise O’Donnell said the move could be an attempt to bypass pay caps for senior managers.

IMPACT’s Limerick Health and Welfare branch committee met on 10th November to consider considered HSE proposals to impose a team of private sector managers. The branch says problems highlighted at a recent ‘special delivery unit’ visit to Limerick regional hospital were caused by senior politicians and senior managers at national level.

IMPACT official Andy Pike said the disastrous policy of Mid-West hospital reconfiguration was used as a pretext to close acute service beds in Ennis and Nenagh, with patients being redirected to Limerick. “The resulting overcrowding and long trolley waits result directly from this increased demand, cuts to the HSE budget, and the effects of the recruitment moratorium,” he said.

The union says the report on which the reconfiguration project is based recommended that 130 new hospital beds would be required in Limerick to meet increased demand.

“The HSE never funded those additional beds and, due to budget cuts, there are now over 100 acute beds closed in the region – most of them in Limerick. Instead of providing the additional 130 beds, the HSE reduced capacity by roughly the same amount. The responsibility for this rests on senior policy makers rather than operational managers at the sharp end of the health service,” said Andy.

The Limerick Health and Welfare branch committee resolved to keep the matter under review.