Dublin, Kildare, Laois and Offaly hospitals asked to review Christmas leave

Conor Ganly

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Conor Ganly

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news@leinsterexpress.ie

portlaoise a&e hospital

Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise.

Hospitals in Dublin, Kildare, Laois and Offaly have been asked to review staff availability and leave over the Christmas New Year Holidays.

In a statement on the taking of leave, the Dublin Midland Hospital Group, which has a whole time equivalent staff equivalent of 10,351, also confirmed that its winter plan submission to cope with the increase in demands has yet to be approved.

The DMHG includes St James and Tallaght hospitals in Dublin as well as Naas General, and the Midland Regional Hospitals in Tullamore and Portlaoise. The Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital and St Lukes Radiation Oncology Network also fall under the DMHG umbrella.

"Hospitals have and continue to focus on ensuring continuity of service delivery to our patients at all times," said a DMHG statement.

"The decision to grant or refuse leave requests is only taken when service needs have been fully accommodated. Where possible staff leave is planned and availed of in a manner that minimises the impact on clinical services," said a statement.

The DMHG confirmed that a letter regarding Christmas / New Year leave was sent to hospitals in September and it was decided by the Group Executive Management Team. 

"As part of winter planning process 2018/2019, the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group requested hospitals to review their leave arrangements over the Christmas/New Year period regarding the availability of staff during this time based on known operational pressures and ensure appropriate resources are in place. These considerations are underway at a local level.

"The Dublin Midlands Hospital Group winter plan submission is currently being reviewed and we await the outcome of this decision," concluded the statement.

A spokesperson confirmed that leave requests must be approved locally by line managers.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar caused controversy this week over his comments on health service staff taking leave at Christmas.

Mr Varadkar warned hospital consultant doctors and nurses about taking leave in the first fortnight of the new year.

"What has been happening in our health service for 10 or 15 years is that hospitals effectively closed down for seven days out of 12.  We need to change that," said the Taoiseach.