“Following serious concerns about reported changes to overtime practices at CUH I contacted the HSE regional Director, Pat Healy, and the management team at CUH. I sought clarification on what was the exact position at CUH regarding overtime.
“I have been informed by the management team at CUH that rostered overtime and on-call provisions for junior hospital doctors have not been affected. According to hospital management they have ensured that rostered overtime and on-call provisions are protected, consequently arrangements for both have not been changed.
“I understand that the hospital has made a change to arrangements for junior hospital doctors unrostered overtime. This was done in an effort to contain costs at the hospital and the doctors affected by the change were advised prior to its implementation.
“In the current economic climate where there is a limited supply of resources the hospital must make every effort to operate within its budget. For years we have had a situation where hospitals regularly exceeded their allocated budgets, if we are to have a properly managed health system then that practice must end. Inevitably changing a regular pattern of budget overruns will pose difficulties but in the long term it should ensure a more efficient health system.
“Under the national service plan the target for CUH was to treat 26,696 in-patients this year. Current predictions have it on target to treat approximately 32,000 in-patients, 20% ahead of what was envisaged. At a time when resources are tight treating an increasing number of patients can only be done with cooperation between management and frontline staff. All staff at CUH must be commended for their dedication and commitment to delivering an excellent service to patients and their families. Doctors, nurses, porters and cleaning staff are the backbone of our health service it is their willingness to adapt which is facilitating the required changes whilst ensuring that services remain patient-centred.”