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Doctors claim hospital form condones sexism at work

Dara Bradley

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Female doctors have criticised their employer, University Hospital Galway (UHG), for continuing to use official documents that, they claim, “condone” sexism in the workplace.

The Galway City Tribune understands that the Non Consultant Hospital Doctors (NCHD) committee has formally complained to UHG management about the use of gender specific consent forms that omit reference to female workers.

One section of the consent form states: “The nature and effect of this operation/treatment/procedure have been explained to me by: Dr./Mr. . . .” There is no option for “Ms”.

The controversial consent form: no option for 'Ms'.

The controversial consent form: no option for ‘Ms’.

The matter was raised by NCHD last July or August following several complaints by female doctors, and some male colleagues. But the forms have not been changed by UHG despite the issue having been raised on several occasions since, including with the Human Resources department. The hospital says it has changed the form but this is disputed by doctors.

NCHD include a wide range of professionals, from fully-qualified doctors who have yet to be appointed to consultancy positions as well as hospital interns.

The English version of the form, which must be signed by patients prior to procedures, only recognises males. The Irish version is gender neutral.

Doctors, through NCHD, have appealed for the English form to be changed so as to recognise women. Female patients have also remarked to doctors at UHG about the anomaly.

“It is a particular bugbear of women doctors working here,” a senior hospital source said.

“It may sound like a small thing but it’s very irritating. It is indicative of and condones sexism, which is something we encounter frequently in the workplace. It is just a few letters – the consent forms could be changed easily,” the doctor said.

Sinn Féin senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh said many doctors at UHG are no longer happy to have this form in the workplace. The Connemara-based senator said he has spoken to clinicians at UHG who are afraid to speak out because they are employed on temporary contracts.

“Almost a year on from when the NCHD committee first complained, the gender specific consent forms are still in use. This is a very simple HR matter, and it should be changed without any fuss.

“The fact that it hasn’t been changed and that the concerns raised have been ignored points to wider issues of sexism and gender equality issues at the hospital,” said senator Ó Clochartaigh, who vowed to raise the matter in Seanad Éireann.

Senator Ó Clochartaigh said he has requested information in relation to the number of women in senior clinical positions and consultancy positions at the hospital as he fears there could be a ‘glass ceiling’ for women clinicians at UHG.

“I hope this doesn’t point to a wider issue of gender inequality,” he said.

In a statement, Saolta University Hospital Group said it was “unintentional” and it has changed the forms following a complaint, although doctors claim it is still in use.

Saolta added: “The consent form in question was a very old form, reprinted over many years. This has now been updated to include the title of ‘Ms’ and are currently being prepared for distribution.”

Connacht Tribune

A Moycullen win would add badly needed spice to football’s big day

John McIntyre

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Conor Reddington of Annaghdown and Tuam Stars' Adam Carton in action during the North Board Minor B football final at Tuam Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

BEFORE a ball was kicked in this year’s Galway senior championship, the smart money would have been on champions Corofin, Tuam Stars, Salthill/Knocknacarra and Mountbellew/Moylough making it to the semi-finals if they managed to keep out of each other’s way on the road to the penultimate stage off the title race.

Unfortunately, for a Salthill team which, in any event, didn’t scale their expected heights this year, they came up against the champions in the quarter-finals where the Seasiders’ challenge was dismissed in convincing fashion. It was business as usual for Corofin who remain odds on to claim a record-breaking eighth consecutive title.

With Tuam Stars edging out Bearna after extra-time, a Paul Kelly goal helping Moycullen get the better of St James’, and Mountbellew/Moylough powering home against 14-man Killannin, it means that three of last year’s semi-finalists are back seeking a place in the Galway decider this weekend. Mountbellew/Moylough are the odd ones out having fallen to Corofin in the 2019 quarter-finals.

Val Daly’s troops will need the performance of the lives to overturn club’s football’s dominant power, especially as they continue to field without county player John Daly – a son of their manager. Of course, they are not without a chance and if the likes of Michael Daly, Matthew Barrett, Eoin Finnerty, Eoin Ryan and Barry McHugh hit the ground running, they could give Corofin a searching time.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Greens see red on gold rush

Dara Bradley

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Opposition is intensifying to the prospect of a licence being awarded to Canadian gold prospectors planning to explore the heart of Connemara.

Environmental campaigners have warned of the dangers of awarding a prospecting licence to Toronto-based MOAG to mine for gold and silver in land around Roundstone, Ballyconneely and Ballynahinch.

They claim the exploration could devastate water supplies, tourism, wildlife – and also led to tensions in the local community.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton has indicated he intends to grant a prospecting licence to the company to explore for the valuable minerals in townlands in Ballynahinch Barony.

The licence allows the holder to explore for mineral deposits, and does not authorise mining of any materials that are found – that requires further licensing.

And Minister Bruton’s Department insists that the activities permitted under this licence are “non-invasive” and “of minimal environmental impact”.

However, campaigners have warned of the dangers mining can have on Connemara, and have urged the public to object before July 6.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Controversial Ballinasloe landfill prepares for closure

Declan Tierney

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The Galway dump that forced householders to close their windows during the hottest of summers will take in waste for the last time during the middle of this year.

The pong the emanated from the landfill site in Kilconnell will be no more as it will cease accepting waste by the end of June next year.

Ballinasloe area councillors were told how Galway County Council took over the running of the landfill site following the liquidation of the former operators Greenstar.

The Council agreed to accept 300,000 tons of municipal waste over a three-year period and this will come to an end by the middle of next year, after which the dump will be capped and closed the following year.

Director of Services Jim Cullen informed a meeting of Ballinasloe Municipal Council that following the closure of the dump, there would be long term care of the site to ensure that there would be no adverse environmental issues.

When Galway County Council took over the running of the landfill site, an allocation of €300,000 was provided by the Department of the Environment for local projects.

Of this, €120,000 has been given to the area engineer to spend at his discretion and the remaining €180,000 has been dispersed equally among the six Ballinasloe councillors – resulting in each getting €30,000 to spend on projects in their area.

It is expected that a further €300,000 will be allocated to organisations within a certain radius of the landfill site and a committee made up of Cllr Aidan Donohue (FG), Cllr Dermot Connolly (SF) and Cllr Timmy Broderick (Ind) to decide how this fund will be dispersed.

For years, the dump in Kilconnell caused annoyance for local residents because of the smells emanating from the site and many householders say that it is still a major problem.

Cllr Michael Finnerty warned about the possibility of a run-off of leachate – a liquid that drains from landfill sites that can cause pollution – from the site into the future.

He said that he attended a meeting in Ballinasloe in which residents expressed concern about a leachate run-off from the old dump in Poolboy which has been closed down for years.

He was assured by Mr Cullen that the situation in Poolboy was being continually monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency but he would investigate these claims.

With regard to the closure of the dump in Kilconnell, Cllr Aidan Donohue said that he was not convinced about the ongoing maintenance of the site into the future.

He said when the landfill site in New Inn was closed many years ago, the Council just walked away and left the site in an unacceptable state.

The Fine Gael councillor was referring to suggestions that the Kilconnell site might have future potential and may be an asset but he cited what happened in New Inn when he said that it was just abandoned.

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