Rheumatology row is resolved at UHK

Simon Brouder

A long running row over Rheumatology services at University Hospital Kerry (UHK) has been resolved following the appointment of a new specialist nurse.

Though he was only appointed to the position in 2013, UHK Consultant Rheumatologist Dr Muhammad Haroon indicated last year that he was willing to resign from the post over the lack of support being provided to his unit by the HSE.

Last September it emerged that Dr Haroon required an Advance Nurse Practitioner (ANP) to assist him in running the unit. While an ANP was available to start work at UHK immediately, the HSE was unwilling to honour her pay grade and expected her to accept the position at a lower pay rate.

The matter was raised at Kerry County Council by Cllrs Norma Moriarty (FF), Jim Finucane (FG), Norma Foley (FF) and JJ Culloty (FF). At the time, Cllr Culloty slated the HSE's position on the matter as "bureaucratic nonsense".

Arthritis Ireland had also called for the appointment of a Rheumatology ANP to help Dr Haroon concentrate on seeing the new patients on the waiting list. It said Dr Haroon had been forced to spend considerable time doing blood tests, and other routine procedures.

This week it was confirmed that a specialist Rheumatology nurse has now been appointed at UHK. The news was welcomed by Deputy Martin Ferris.

"The local branch of Arthritis Ireland deserves a huge amount of credit for the campaign they ran locally to ensure that this position was filled. Enormous credit should also go to Dr Haroon who has been working under very difficult circumstances to meet the demands of an ever growing waiting list," said Deputy Ferris.