PATIENTS in one of the country's busiest maternity hospitals are being put at risk because of outdated infrastructure and a shortage of staff.
The warning was made by Dr Sam Coulter-Smith, master of the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin, who has repeatedly drawn attention to the pressures the maternity service is under.
Over the course of one 24-hour period during the year the hospital delivered 42 babies, he revealed in the Rotunda's annual clinical report for 2012. Staff were also left struggling to maintain patient safety when a number of emergencies occurred at the same time.
The hospital had its busiest year in 2012, with 8,845 women giving birth to 9,041 babies.
He said the HSE and Department of Health had been notified on multiple occasions of the intolerably high levels of activity and the clinical risks that arose as a result. The hospital is battling outdated buildings, a big rise in births and a "completely inappropriate" midwife to patient ratio.