Fine Gael TD for Kildare South Martin Heydon has this week in the Dail called for the fast tracking of Naas General Hospital’s application for additional nursing staff and the conversion of 16 agency staff nurses to full time positions. Deputy Heydon was speaking after he raised the issue as a topical debate before Minister of State at the Department of Health Kathleen Lynch, following the recent nurse’s protest which he attended.

“Management at Naas have an additional 24 nurses at Naas, 8 of these are already in the system and the remaining 16 are to come from a conversion of agency staff which will bring significant savings to the hospitals budget. We need this to happen as soon as possible. Nationwide the HSE bill for agency staff for 2014 may reach up to €326m this year which is unacceptable.

“Minister Kathleen Lynch accepted the pressure that existing staff are under in Naas emphasising that there has been a 14% increase in admissions year on year at Naas. This increased demand has a knock on impact through the entire Hospital and places all services under additional pressure.

“For the admission numbers to be that high in November is a concern. Heydon highlighted to the Minister that January is the peak time for admissions and pressures on A&E and it was critical that the staffing arrangements be finalised by then.

“The decision by Kildare County Council this week to award planning permission to the Hospital for a two storey extension for a new endoscopy unit and physical medicine and oncology departments is a very positive development.

“That said, staff are the key resource at Naas and while the recruitment plans have been sanctioned and signed off, we need to cut through the red tape to see them in place as soon as possible. Management and staff carry out great work at Naas and we in government need to do everything we can to support them in that work” concluded Deputy Heydon.