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Councillors demand meeting over HSE waiting times ‘scandal’

Denise McNamara

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Councillors from across the region united to demand a meeting with all senior HSE managers from the Saolta hospital group to account for the increased waiting lists a decade on from the replacement of the health boards.

Many councillors at this week’s HSE West Regional Health Forum meeting lamented the state of the health system across the western seaboard in the face of multiple high-profile managers whom successive ministers held up as the potential saviours.

Several members pointed to the single public MRI machine operating in University Hospital Galway (UHG) – a ‘Centre of Excellence’ for the region – as evidence that the system was just not fit for purpose.

Fine Gael councillor Padraig Conneely said during his recent stay at UHG, he met a Donegal woman and her daughter who discovered the MRI scanner was out of action when they arrived. Her daughter took up a bed for a week while the machine was being fixed; the mother, was forced to spend €60 a night in a B&B.

“What management would stand over a system like that in the commercial sector. They wouldn’t get any bonus or payout. That widowed mother was distraught. I got her a B&B myself for €40 a night. It’s scandalous what’s going on,” he fumed.

The HSE was set up in 2005 when the old health boards were dissolved as they were seen as too parochial. Cllr Conneely and Cllr Catherine Connolly (Ind) were both on the first health forum in 2006, but in that period had seen all too little progress.

Cllr Connolly pointed to the growing waiting lists, increasing use of agency staff increasing and ever more public money going to private institutions to pay for procedures that could not be carried out within a reasonable timeframe in the public hospitals.

In relation to a second motion, in which she called on the minister for health to adequately fund the public health service, Cllr Connolly said there would soon be a “public purse onslaught” to fund increasing numbers of patients to seek treatment overseas.

Cllr Terry O’Flaherty (Ind) said she knew of one patient who received a text from the HSE offering to pay transport and the cost of an appointment in a private Dublin hospital due to the waiting times locally.

The only MRI scanner in UHG should be operating past 5pm and at weekends to cut waiting lists, Cllr Mary Hoade (FF) insisted.

Chief Officer for Galway, Mayo and Roscommon Community Services, Tony Canavan, said clearly there were difficulties in the system.

“But it’s important if we’re looking at this openly, we’re also open to the possibility that good things have happened. In the A&E – lots and lots of people go through the A&E, and their experience is good, they’re not the kind of people who complain to you,” he insisted.

Saolta group CEO Maurice Power said there was no difficulty arranging a special meeting with senior management but it could prove tricky to get them all to come at the same time. It would likely happen next March.

CITY TRIBUNE

Drugs raid on house in Ballybane

Enda Cunningham

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The seizure from the house in Ballybane

Gardaí in Galway have arrested a man and seized more than €31,000 in cash, and suspected cocaine from a house in Ballybane.
At 10pm yesterday, the Divisional Drugs Unit searched a house under warrant, where they seized €12,250 worth of cocaine (pending analysis).
Approximately €19,000 worth of cash in euro and Sterling currency and two designer watches worth €7,000 were also seized by Gardaí.
One man, aged in his early 30s, was arrested at the scene. He has since been released without charge and a file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions in this matter.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway ICU has 100% Covid-19 survival rate

Dara Bradley

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Stock image

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – All Covid-19 patients who were critically ill in the Intensive Care Unit at University Hospital Galway have survived the virus, the Galway City Tribune has learned.

While there have been some Covid-19 deaths in the city hospital since the pandemic reached Ireland, the survival rate of those treated in the critical care unit or ICU at UHG has been 100%.

The hospital has not yet provided an exact figure for ICU recoveries, but ‘rolling figures’ from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre – which do not account for overlaps of new ICU patients and those who are moved out following recovery – show that on one occasion at the peak of the crisis here, there were up to 20 people being treated for Covid-19 in the unit. This week, there was one Covid patient in ICU.

The ICU has not been as busy as Dublin’s acute hospitals, as Covid-19 has been more prevalent on the east coast. But the success in treating patients in Galway’s ICU has also been attributed to splitting it into two separate ICUs, one for Covid and one for non-Covid patients, which was facilitated by the deal negotiated with private hospitals.

Dr Pat Nash, Chief Clinical Director of Saolta Hospitals Group, which runs UHG, said: “Thankfully we haven’t had any ICU deaths related to Covid, to date. There have been deaths related to Covid but not in ICU. That is good by national standards.”
This is a shortened preview version of this article. Please remember that without advertising revenue and people buying and subscribing to our newspapers, this website would not exist. You can read the full article by buying a digital edition of this week’s Galway City Tribune HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway Market to reopen – and go back to its roots

Denise McNamara

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All quiet: the last Galway Market held two months ago.

From this wek’s Galway City Tribune – Up to 30 food growers and producers will return this Saturday to sell their wares at a smaller version of the Galway Market, following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

A reduced number of stalls will be laid out to allow the two-metre distance between traders and each stall holder will be expected to maintain a ‘socially distant’ queue among their customers. Council officials will be on site to ensure things runs smoothly.

There will be no hot food vendors or craftspeople operating in this phase of the market’s return outside St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church.

Carmel Kilcoyne, Senior Engineer in the Council’s Environment Department, explained that stalls along Churchyard Street will not be erected at this time due to its size.

“It is a different layout and we are adhering to a strict interpretation of what a farmers’ market is – food producers, deli items such as chutneys, cheese, eggs and fish mongers. We will have one coffee van,” she said.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. Please remember that without advertising revenue and people buying and subscribing to our newspapers, this website would not exist. You can read the full article by buying a digital edition of this week’s Galway City Tribune HERE.

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