Concern over shortage of laboratory staff at Limerick hospital

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University Hospital Limerick

A COUNTY Limerick TD has highlighted in the Dáil a shortage of staff at several laboratories at University Hospital of Limerick (UHL).

According to Rural Independent Deputy Richard O’Donoghue, the situation at UHL is “serious”.

“In University Hospital Limerick there are seven laboratories that are struggling for staff. There is a national shortage of medical scientists, so why not ensure remuneration accordingly?” Deputy O’Donoghue declared.

“In 2020, 130 posts were unfilled. UHL requires medical scientists in seven departments, including biochemistry, microbiology, histology, haematology, the blood bank and the public health lab.

“The main reason for the ongoing dispute is that biochemists are paid eight per cent more than medical scientists. Medical scientists have significant responsibilities and are more aware of the significance of the disruptions that a strike causes for their primary focus, namely, the patient.”

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Deputy O’Donoghue went onto say that medical scientists carry out identical work with the same responsibilities. He also claimed that they have fewer promotional and career development opportunities and less support for training and education.

“They have a genuine grievance with the fact that other public sector health workers have seen significant pay increases when they have not,” he told the Dáil.

“How can any hospital function without staff and pay parity?”

Meanwhile, in a question to Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, O’Donoghue asked when the issue of the average waiting time in the emergency department of University Hospital Limerick be addressed.

The Minister replied: “As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the Deputy directly, as soon as possible.”