Children’s Hospital Claims HSE Wants Job Cuts

The country’s biggest children’s hospital, Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin, has claimed that 159 job cuts are being sought by the Health Service Executive. The hospital says the job cuts would have a devastating effect on services and result in unacceptable safety risks.

The hospital says it is being asked to reduce the number of employees by the end of the year and claims the HSE is trying to redefine the role of the hospital, in the absence of service alternatives elsewhere.

In a letter to the HSE dated 25 May, the hospital’s chief executive, Michael Lyons, called for an independent review by outside experts of the hospital’s employment levels, benchmarked against international best practice. It says that the €122m in HSE funding provided to it this year represents a 9% cut on the previous year.

It has warned that unless the shortfall of €19m is made up, there will have to be closures of wards, theatres and intensive care beds and that any cuts now would hit planned operations as early as next month.

The hospital was responding to a letter from the HSE’s network manager, John Bulfin, dated 23 March, warning that Crumlin is facing a deficit of over €16m this year. It says the hospital has an employment ceiling of 1,412 staff and this must be adhered to.

The letter says the HSE is acutely aware that reducing employment numbers to the staff ceiling will have implications for service delivery and that the hospital needs to set out the implications of this as a matter of urgency.

Crumlin says that the best it can do is to try and reduce its current staff level of 1,570 by 13. It has sought a meeting with the HSE to discuss the controversy.