Lack of nurses forces hospital bed closures
Patients are facing major disruption following a decision to close 10 inpatient beds in University Hospital Waterford due to a shortfall of 25 nurses.
The drastic move is expected to lead to more patients spending longer on trolleys in its emergency department as well as the potential cancellation of operations.
The hospital is in the constituency of Training and Skills Minister John Halligan of the Independent Alliance, who has already suffered the disappointment of seeing it turned down for a second cath lab to cater for heart patients.
A spokeswoman for the hospital said it was closing the beds "on a temporary basis" with effect from Monday due to the vacancies.
She said they were using all options to recruit nurses. However, pending restoration of staffing levels, the hospital "will seek to minimise any disruption to patient care and the matter is under ongoing daily review".
The nursing vacancies are in medicine and surgery.
The priority at all times will be in maintaining safe emergency services and if, on occasion, this is only achievable by containing elective activity "it will be considered", added the spokeswoman.