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Connacht Tribune

Galway hospitals are ‘fully covered’ for Christmas

Denise McNamara

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The head of hospitals in the region has assured the public there will be full cover in place over the Christmas festive period despite what one councillor labelled the exodus of senior medics to the Caribbean.

Councillor for Galway City Central Padraig Conneely echoed the calls of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar earlier this month when he called for hospitals, consultants, nurses and other staff to operate at full capacity at Christmas, New Year and in the early weeks of January.

Cllr Conneely was critical of the response received from the HSE about procedures in place to deal with the anticipated surge in patients over the holiday season.

Chief operating officer of the Saolta Hospital Group Ann Cosgrove had stated that detailed planning for the Christmas period was underway following a review of activity levels in previous years and joint planning with services outside the hospitals under the auspices of Community Healthcare West.

“We all know from last year that in the first week of January consultants like to go to Barbados over the New Year period,” exclaimed Cllr Conneely.

“You know Christmas Day is four weeks away from today. Here you’re saying planning is currently underway. Businesses plan six to eight months in advance for the Christmas period.

“If we’re to take previous Christmas periods, a lot of work is cancelled because staff are not there – I think it’s a bit lame.”

He told the Regional Health Forum West meeting that he had been in the hospital himself for a day procedure and all the conversation of staff around him was focused on who was on leave during the festive period.

“It’s kind of disturbing. I didn’t say anything but it was all that was being spoken about.”

Ms Cosgrove retorted that staff worked “five over seven”, did not work seven days and week and were entitled to their days off in a very busy environment.

“All beds are open over the Christmas season. All rosters are filled,” she insisted.

Elective procedures did not take place as patients did not want to be in hospital at that time of the year so certain days were quieter than normal.

The hospital group had applied for extra resources for staff in the areas of diagnostics, frailty teams and the Emergency Department as part of their winter plan three months ago but had not heard back from the national organisation.

Connacht Tribune

Student nurses face all the risk – for no reward

Dara Bradley

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Working on the children’s ward of a busy hospital during a global pandemic is no joke; less funny still when you’re not getting paid for your toil.

All the risk and none of the rewards of qualified staff – that’s the lot of Edel Moore, a student nurse who is currently on placement at University Hospital Galway.

Edel, and hundreds of student nurses like her on placement in UHG and Portiuncula in Ballinasloe, want more than a round of applause and platitudes from Government.

“None of us want a pat on the back for struggling. We’d just like to be recognised,” she said.

“The Government are full-time talking about front-line workers, and they want to give them a ‘clap hands’. Then you see Junior Ministers getting massive raises. For what? What have they done for us, the student nurses, that they’re getting a €16,000 wage increase?

“We’ve put ourselves through a four year degree but all I’m worth is a clap? Thanks! It’s ridiculous. They say that front-line workers deserve all the help they can get but it just seems that the ones who are able to give us the help we need are not going to give us the help that we deserve.”

Edel Moore is a mature student originally from Westmeath but living in Leitir Mealláin in Connemara with her husband and three children.

A third year student nurse of NUIG, she is currently on placement at the paediatric ward at UHG.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Island museum gets the green light

Declan Tierney

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An artist's impression of the proposed Inishbofin museum.

Work is expected to begin shortly on the construction of a museum on Inishbofin after planners gave the green light to the project.

The museum at Middlequarter is being developed by local historian and photographer Marie Coyne – and when completed, it will be home to items of historical significance from both Inishbofin and Inishark.

There is an existing museum on the island but it is too small to house the amount of artefacts, photographs and family histories that have been assembled over the years.

The new building will also include a photographic exhibition room, restoration workshop along with a gift shop and coffee dock. It is proposed that the new 3,400 square feet museum will be built on a site at the rear of Ms Coyne’s home.

Eamon Gavin of Eamon Gavin Architects based in Cornamona told the Connacht Tribune that this was an important project for the island and it was a welcome decision.

And he said that the green light would kickstart the process of conserving the vast and unique artefacts and archives built up over the years.

“As a practice, we have a long history of dealing with planning consultancy on unique rural sites in Connemara and the islands, therefore we fully understood how sensitive the proposed location of the project would be – the site is located in a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and National Heritage Area,” he said.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Tuam woman a picture of health a year after Covid crisis

Declan Tierney

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Tuam's Kitty Farrell with her dog Lulu a year after her Covid diagnosis.

Last year was a Mother’s Day like no other for Kitty Farrell who spent it in the back of an ambulance being rushed to hospital with Covid – but the 80 year old Tuam woman can look forward to a more sedate celebration this time out….thankfully restored back to full health.

Kitty, from Ballygaddy Road, had developed a debilitating cough the previous week – and when she was admitted to UHG on Mother’s Day, she tested positive for the coronavirus despite a lack of symptoms.

The retired businesswoman spent the next nine days seriously ill in isolation – and all alone as her four children could not visit her.

“To be honest, I didn’t think I was going to come through it but I was so sick that at times, it didn’t really matter. But the thought of passing away in isolation made a bad situation even worse,” Kitty said at the time.

A year on, she is back to full health, and while she restricts her movements, Kitty told The Connacht Tribune that she is just happy to be alive and she spends her days ‘pottering about’ and looking forward to the arrival of family members.

“Even though I don’t particularly agree with the current lockdown because everyone should be responsible for their own behaviour, I am living a life of relative isolation at the moment,” she said.

Read Kitty’s full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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