Fianna Fáil claim it shows 'major deficits' in emergency cover
New figures have revealed that nine hospital emergency departments around the country have no emergency consultant cover.
The figures were released to Fianna Fáil through parliamentary questions.
Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North-Central, Billy Kelleher, said: "This information is deeply disquieting.
"These figures confirm major deficits in emergency cover in our hospital.
"In fact a shocking nine out of 29 emergency departments nationwide do not have a named consultant in emergency medicine available and clinically accountable on a 24/7 basis".
The nine hospitals affected are: Mercy University Hospital Cork, Kerry General Hospital, Midland Regional, Mullingar, Midland Regional, Portlaoise, Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan, Portiuncula Hospital, South Tipperary General Hospital, St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny and Wexford General Hospital.
Deputy Kelleher added: "This is really not acceptable and cannot be best patient safety practice.
"To have almost one in three EDs relying on junior doctors without senior supervision can only jeopardise patient care".
However Mr Kelleher has said this is not a new development.
"None of these nine hospitals had 24/7 cover two years ago either, and many of them have seen significant increases in overcrowding in the intervening time.
"Efforts must be put in place to ensure that all these hospitals have an emergency medicine consultant available and clinically accountable on a 24/7 basis, without delay."