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CITY TRIBUNE

1,700 elderly patients waited over 24 hours in A&E last year

Enda Cunningham

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More than 1,700 elderly patients faced waiting times of over 24 hours in the Emergency Department at University Hospital Galway last year.

UHG had the worst record for Emergency Departments across the country for waiting times for patients aged 75 and above.

Figures from the HSE show that 1,737 patients aged 75 or over had to wait in UHG’s ED for more than 24 hours in 2018.

That represents just over one fifth (22.2%) of all patients aged over 75 who were admitted to that unit last year – the worst record of all the Emergency Departments in the Republic of Ireland.

The next highest rate was in University Hospital Limerick at 21.8% (1,932 patients); Naas general at 16.8% (732 patients) and the Mater at 15.6% (1,529 patients).

The best rates recorded for waiting times of less than 24 hours for patients aged over 75 were in in Portiuncula, Sligo, Mayo and Letterkenny, all at more than 99%.

The national average for waits of less than 24 hours was 91.5%.

The figures were released by the HSE to Sinn Féin following a Parliamentary Question.

City Sinn Féin councillor Mairéad Farrell said: “Just as the total number of patients on trolleys has increased year on year across the state while Simon Harris has been Minister for Health, the number of elderly patients who have had to wait over 24 hours for care has also increased under his watch every year.

“It is incredibly worrying that across the state 14,041 patients over 75 years old were not seen within the HSE 24 hour target timeframe last year – an increase of 2,821 older patients than in 2017.

“In UHG alone, 1,737 elderly patients had to wait over 24 hours. That’s the second highest in the country [University Hospital Limerick recorded 1,932 but had a better overall percentage of elderly patient waits of less than 24 hours].

“We all know that older patients are often among the most vulnerable people in our hospitals due to their age and the additional medical needs that can sometimes accompany aging. Treating them urgently prevents escalation of injury and ensures safety and swift treatment.

“The staff in UHG do an amazing job and recently I marched with the nurses there in their struggle for improvements in pay and conditions. The reality is that they are doing more with less resources; they are treating more patients even though there is a recruitment and retention crisis across all areas of the health service.

“All the while, patients and staff are being failed by the Minister and by this Government. The solution is more capacity, more staff, and the implementation of Sláintecare; however, the Government are damaging capital projects across the State due to the children’s hospital overspend, they are refusing to engage with nurses and midwives to resolve that crisis, and they appear to have no interest in implementing Sláintecare,” said Cllr Farrell.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City publican in heroic River Corrib rescue

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A city publican who last week helped save the life of a woman who had entered the waters of the Corrib off Wolfe Tone Bridge has made an appeal for young people to ‘look out for each other’.

Fergus McGinn, proprietor of McGinn’s Hop House in Woodquay, had been walking close to Jury’s Inn when he saw the young woman enter the river.

He then rushed to the riverbank on the Long Walk side of the bridge, jumped into the water, spoke to the woman and stayed with her until the emergency services arrived.

The incident occurred at about 3.45pm on Friday last, and a short time later the emergency services were on the scene to safely rescue the woman.

“She was lucky in that the river level was very low and she didn’t injure herself on the rocks and stones just under the water.”

He also appealed to the public to support in whatever they could the work being done by groups like the Claddagh Watch volunteers.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Pubs face court – for serving booze on their doorsteps!

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have warned city publicans that alcohol cannot be served outside their own premises – even in newly-created on-street spaces designated by Galway City Council as suitable for outdoor dining.

Councillor Mike Crowe (FF) said three Gardaí visited a number of city centre pubs on Thursday afternoon informing them that drinking outdoors was not allowed under licensing laws.

“They warned publicans and restaurants that the area outside their premises is not covered by the licence, and therefore under national legislation, they are breaking the law, because they are not entitled to sell alcohol in non-licensed areas.

“The operators were told that this was an official warning, and they will be back again in a few days and if it persisted, they [Gardaí] would have no option but to issue a charge and forward files to the Director of Public Prosecution. You could not make this up.

“All of the big operators were visited, and received an official warning, and they will be charged if they persist. According to the guards, they’re getting instructions from [Garda headquarters in] Phoenix Park,” he said.

The matter will be raised at a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee on Monday.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Call for 50% affordable homes in new Galway City Council estates

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The next Galway City Development Plan should include a greater provision for affordable housing than that recommended by Government, a meeting of the City Council has heard.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) told the meeting that while it was the Government’s intention to introduce a stipulation that new estates should have 10% affordable housing, Galway should go further – building anything up to 50% affordable in developments that are led by the local authority.

The Affordable Housing Bill, which is currently working its way through the Oireachtas, proposes that all developments should have 10% affordable and 10% social housing as a condition of their approval.

Affordable housing schemes help lower-income households buy their own houses or apartments in new developments at significantly less than their open market value, while social housing is provided by local authorities and housing agencies to those who cannot afford their own accommodation.

The Council meeting, part of the pre-draft stage of forming the Development Plan to run from 2023 to 2029, was to examine the overarching strategies that will inform the draft plan to come before councillors by the end of the year and Cllr McDonnell said a more ambitious target for affordable housing was absolutely necessary.

“It must be included that at least 50% of housing must be affordable [in social housing developments],” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) who questioned if the City Council was ‘tied down’ by national guidelines, or if it could increase the minimum percentage of affordable housing required locally.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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