THE reason why an X-ray unit in Clifden only carries out 87 procedures in a year – as compared to over 1,000 for a similar facility in Belmullet in North Mayo – is in need of urgent diagnosis, according to West Galway Fianna Fáil TD, Éamon Ó Cuív.
He said that he found it ‘difficult to understand’ how the X-ray unit in Belmullet could perform so efficiently – seeing over 1,000 patients in a year – while the Clifden figure was under 90.
“Roughly speaking the round journey time from Belmullet to Mayo University Hospital is the same as from Clifden to University Hospital Galway (UHG) – so why can’t the same service be provided at the Clifden facility?” asked Deputy Ó Cuív.
He said that as far as he was concerned, there was a complete disconnect in the system, with services in Galway lagging far behind those in Mayo.
“Many patients in Connemara end up going to UHG for their X-rays, exacerbating an already pressurised system.
“It really makes no sense at all that someone would choose to travel from Connemara into the city when an X-ray unit is available in their own area,” said Deputy Ó Cuív.
The information on the usage of the X-ray facilities at Clifden and Belmullet came in a Dáil reply from Health Minister, Simon Harris, to a question tabled by Deputy Ó Cuív.
The reply to Deputy Ó Cuív – that came via Ann Cosgrove, Chief Operations Officer of the Saolta Hospital Group – pointed out that there was a shortage of radiographers at both UHG and Merlin Park.
Ms. Cosgrove said that staff at UHG do contact patients directly that are on the X-ray waiting list for Clifden to ask them if they wish to have the X-ray carried out at UHG.
“Many are happy to attend UHG as they are travelling to the city for other reasons. The in-patients at Clifden Hospital, and who cannot or choose not to attend UHG, are scheduled for their X-rays in this unit [Clifden],” she said.
See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.