It’s official – Galway University Hospitals are the worst in the country for waiting lists.
The National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) figures reveal that more than 41,000 patients are waiting for treatment in GUH, which includes University Hospital Galway and Merlin Park University Hospital.
That represents ten per cent of the total 400,000 outpatients and inpatients waiting for treatment nationally.
“It is worrying . . . Galway is emerging as the poorest overall performer,” said Galway West Fine Gael TD, Hildegarde Naughton.
“Galway has both the highest number waiting for inpatient treatment, at 10,605, and outpatient treatment, with a staggering 30,464 waiting,” she said.
Deputy Naughton said the local waiting list crisis has existed for some time, since GUH was designated as a centre of excellence for several specialities. The hospitals serve the entire west and north west seaboard, she said, and so cannot cope.
The newly elected TD said in order to tackle the problem more consultants are needed – Ireland has fewer consultants than other developed countries. And she said Ireland needs more hospital beds – the number has fallen from 25,000 in 1995 to under 12,700 now.
Locally, she reiterated her solution of moving services from UHG to Merlin Park.
Deputy Naughton pointed out that GUH is presently building an extension and planning for a new Accident and Emergency Department at UHG.
This development, she said, is “on a site that is only 42 acres, landlocked and has severe traffic issues, whereas Merlin Park Hospital is vastly underutilised, sitting on a site of approximately 150 acres and with immediate access to the dual carriageway system.”
Deputy Naughton added: “I am increasingly frustrated with the inability of medical service management in this country to see that the campus in GUH is overcrowded and no longer suitable. It is high time Merlin Park was considered as the site of a new state of the art acute hospital for the West. I intend to make this point forcibly to the incoming Government.”
Gardaí bid to identify body recovered near Mutton Island
Gardai have launched an investigation following the discovery of a body in Galway Bay yesterday afternoon.
A member of the public raised the alarm after spotting the body in the water while walking on the causeway to Mutton Island.
Galway Fire Service, Gardai and the RNLI attended the scene and recovered the body at around 4pm, before it was taken to University Hospital Galway for a post mortem.
It is understood that the body may have been in the water for some time.
Gardaí are currently examining a list of missing people in the city.
Gardaí investigate fatal Carraroe crash
A man in his 30s has died following a road crash in Carraroe in the early hours of this morning.
At 3.50am, Gardaí and emergency services attended at a single car collision on a minor road.
The driver of the car, a man in his 30s, was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later. A passenger in the car, a male in his 30s, was taken by ambulance to Galway University Hospital. His injuries are not thought to be life threatening.
The road is currently closed and local diversions are in place. Garda forensic collision investigators will examine the crash site this morning.
Land Development Agency rules out Merlin ‘land grab’
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Campaigners have warned the Land Development Agency (LDA) to keep its hands off Merlin Woods.
Local community group Friends of Merlin Woods said that the amenity on the east side of the city is not suitable for residential development.
It has sought clarification on whether the LDA has earmarked part of the recreational and amenity lands for housing, after it appeared on its online database of publicly-owned lands.
In a statement to the Galway City Tribune, the LDA said its database compiles a list of all State lands, not just land for development.
In relation to Merlin Woods, the LDA said: “Those lands aren’t included in the LDA developments in Galway. The lands database is a map-based tool which compiles all State lands and has no reflection on development potential.”
It came after Caroline Stanley of Friends of Merlin Woods raised concern that land within Merlin Woods had been earmarked for development.
“I’d be concerned that it’s marked as residential when it’s in RA (Recreational and Amenity) land. Some is marked ‘open space’ but some is marked as ‘new proposed residential’ on its [LDA’s] database. It makes us wonder why. We’d like clarity and to clear it up.
“The message we’d like to get out there is we need clarification, whether it’s a mistake on the Land Development Agency’s part, or whether it is an area that they consider as a residential area, which the community would be opposed to. We need clarity. It could be something that is in line for development later on, we don’t know, and we need clarity.”
Councillor Owen Hanley explained that the fears around Merlin Woods stem from legislation currently making its way through the Oireachtas that would strip councillors of powers to veto the transfer of land to the LDA for housing projects.
The Bill would also allow Government to direct what public lands – including those owned by local authorities – can be transferred to the LDA for development of social and affordable housing.
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.