OUR WORST performing hospitals were given a September date to dramatically reduce their emergency waiting times -- or risk having their funding slashed.
The Herald can reveal that bosses in 15 hospitals are under intense pressure to meet strict demands to reduce waiting times in their emergency departments.
Eight hospitals are deemed by the department's Special Delivery Unit (SDU) to represent a "substantial cause for concern".
Documents obtained by the Herald under the Freedom of Information Act lay bare the enormous challenges facing bosses in our most underperforming hospitals.
We can reveal that 15 hospitals that represent the "greatest performance risk" were told in November they will be individually monitored by an SDU liaison officer.
The September date was set to ensure management work towards achieving a nine-hour maximum waiting time
A further eight hospitals were listed as being of "substantial cause for concern in terms of their performance should resources become available"
Bosses were forced to agree to a number of strict measures in return for direct department funding.
According to the documents, hospitals have been assigned health experts which will monitor whether bosses are doing enough to "eliminate trolley waits".
The officer appointed is effectively micro managing a "hospital-level improvement plan" that aims to work towards the "elimination of over nine hour waiting in EDs (emergency departments) by September".
Some 15 hospital bosses were contacted in November and told their funding submission will be approved "subject to conditions" and "only in the event of specific performance".
These hospitals formed a group that was said to represent the "greatest performance risk" and include the Mater Hospital and St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin.
The documents also list a further eight hospitals whose performance has set off alarm bells for department officials.
Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown is the only Dublin-based unit in this group.