HALF the nursing staff at one of the country's busiest hospitals will today be left tens of thousands of euros short in their payslips by the HSE.
The Irish Independent can today reveal that 400 of the 800-strong nursing staff at the Mid-Western regional hospital in Limerick will not receive their fortnightly allowances, including overtime and shift work, because of a staff shortage.
The 400 nurses have been left out of pocket because of a shortage of clerical staff who process their allowances for payroll.
It is understood that two staff members are on maternity leave, while another is out sick.
The HSE last night confirmed the nurses would not be paid their allowances for the past two weeks.
All nurses are paid fortnightly and the affected staff will find out they have only received their standard pay when they open their payslips.
While the amounts of allowances vary, it is believed that some nurses will temporarily lose out on sums between €200 and €300 after tax, while other nurses will lose out on more than €100.
Allowances vary for nurses depending on their position and work completed. For working almost 12 hours on a Sunday, a senior nurse would receive €275 before tax or an additional €70 before tax for a night shift. Other allowances are paid for evening work.
Many of the 400 nurses have not even been informed that they are to be left out of pocket by the HSE.
"This is a disgrace," one Limerick-based nurse told the Irish Independent last night.
"What kind of system have they in place?
"You can be damn sure nurses who work in the regional in Limerick and their families are going to be very upset at the way they have been treated," the nurse added.
The HSE said they were attempting to resolve the matter and said no other hospital had been affected.
Relations among nurses and HSE management at the hospital are already strained and this issue will only serve to increase tensions. "The difficulty is caused by a shortage of key staff responsible for inputting data into a payroll system," the HSE said.
"There is great difficulties in finding replacement (staff) within the system largely due to the fact that staff who might in the past have been available to do this work are now engaged in frontline support duties.
"We are looking at various possibilities to try to resolve the situation.
"We regret any inconvenience caused and hope to have the situation cleared as soon as possible," the HSE said.