Galway’s hospitals ‘falling apart at the seams’

UHG Emergency Department.

Health Minister Simon Harris has been called on to personally intervene in policy management at Galway’s public hospitals, following the publication of a report which shows more than 8,100 patients were left waiting on trolleys and chairs at UHG and Portiuncula during 2017.

The public health system in Galway was described this week as “falling apart at the seams”, after it emerged that 6,563 patients were left on trolleys or chairs at UHG in 2017 (up 13% from 5,807 the previous year) and 1,569 at Portiuncula (up 76% from 892).

Galway-based Fianna Fáil TD Éamon Ó Cuív told the Connacht Tribune the figures were “horrendous”.

“And the reality is there doesn’t seem to be a strategy to deal with it. People on trolleys means people waiting for admission because there aren’t enough hospital beds or staff, because there are some people ‘bed-blocking’, and justifiably so, because they have nowhere else to go.

“How many of those people presenting in the Emergency Department could have been treated locally, in the community?

“A huge amount of people have been pushed into the system in Galway from the likes of Roscommon, Mayo and Donegal, because Galway is the ‘Centre of Excellence’, which I have absolutely no problem with for the likes of cancer etc.

“But there are other things which could be pushed out to the local hospitals; medicine and technology have progressed so much over the past ten or twenty years.

“Look at X-rays – they all come through the same door at A&E. If there were centres to do precautionary X-rays, this would relieve some of the pressure at UHG.

“We don’t have enough hospital beds, we don’t have the management processes, and what happened the plan for (community-based) primary care centres?” asked Deputy Ó Cuív.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.