Supporting Local News

GP calls on HSE to restore Clifden Hospital to its former glory

One of the county’s best-known GPs has called on the HSE to restore facilities at the beleaguered Clifden Hospital to their former glory – despite the failure of a recent recruitment campaign to fill vital nursing vacancies.

Dr John Casey Senior, whose Clifden practice is one of the largest in the county, said that ‘a perfectly good facility’ which had served West Connemara for decades ‘languishes between occasionally open and closed due to, we are told, lack of available staff’.

His own Clifden Medical Practice is Connemara’s longest serving medical practice, originally established in 1950 by Dr Michael Casey and continued today by Dr Casey and Dr John Casey Junior.

Dr Casey Senior recalled a time at the turn of the millennium when the Hospital was thriving – in contrast to its status now.

“We had geriatric assessment; a resident Registrar; two joint Medical Officers; an occupational therapist, physiotherapist and dietitian; care plans were devolved for our patients prior to discharge home, and a respite facility was available to care for patients who needed nursing care, not immediately available in the home,” he said.

“A Day Centre provided a hugely successful facility for our ageing population; patients were collected by a dedicated bus from their homes, looked after during the day and delivered home in the evening, and Medical issues were addressed while in care,” he added.

Many of his own patients were born in the Maternity Unit at Clifden Hospital, he said – and many more have relatives who died there with dignity in the care of the wonderful staff, with the benefit of being in their own community, and with visits from family and friends.

But now, at a time when hospital beds are at a premium, Clifden is under-utilised, while patients who are fit for discharge, but have no care package in place to effect a discharge from UHG, ‘occupy beds badly needed for the acutely ill’.

“We also have an increasing elderly population in West Connemara; as our people grow older, some develop complex needs that can be addressed in a facility like Clifden Hospital without the need to undergo a 150 km round trip to University Hospital Galway,” he said.

“We are told the plan is to build a new 50-bed unit at the site of St. Anne’s Nursing Home, which will accommodate the community’s needs – but how does the HSE propose to staff this facility if it cannot staff existing beds in Clifden?” he asked.

“As a former Medical Officer who soldiered in Clifden Hospital in the good times when the hospital operated at full capacity, with a phenomenal staff, caring and community based, I appeal to those in the HSE who make these decisions to have a rethink about this hospital’s future,” he said.

“It can have a pivotal role in Community Care in West Connemara.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

More like this:

Sign Up To get Weekly Sports UPDATES

Go Up