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Health Minister’s ‘pathetic’ response to crisis at Emergency Department


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Health Minister’s ‘pathetic’ response to crisis at Emergency Department Health Minister’s ‘pathetic’ response to crisis at Emergency Department

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A Galway West TD has lambasted the response of the Health Minister to a damning inspection of the Emergency Department a year ago as “pathetic”.

Independent Deputy and Leas-Cheann Comhairle of the Dáil, Catherine Connolly, tabled a question about Minister Stephen Donnelly’s engagement with University Hospital Galway in relation to the deficit of staff and beds highlighted in the report by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA).

The inspection carried out a year ago highlighted management’s admission that an extra 222 beds were needed across the hospital to address overcrowding.

“Grossly overcrowded” was how the temporary Emergency Department (ED) was described by inspectors when 28 patients were waiting on an inpatient bed, with patients on 20 trolleys on the main corridor, a public thoroughfare. There were 22 patients who had finished treatment whose discharges were delayed.

The hospital was approved for eight consultants in emergency medicine, yet only 2.5 positions were filled. In February 2023 inspectors were told that four consultants in emergency medicine had been recruited and were due to be in post in September 2023.

“By end 2023, it was anticipated that seven emergency consultant posts at the hospital would be filled,” the report stated.

The ED had an approved complement of 43 full-time non-consultant hospital doctors (NCHDs) – 18 registrars and 25 senior house officers. Nine of these posts (four registrars, five SHOs) were unfilled at the time of inspection. There were 106 nurses working in the ED, even though they had approval for 117.

Minister Donnelly told the Dáil there had been recruitment of additional staff to address shortfalls in medical and nursing staff, “with two ED consultants already recruited and four more to be recruited this year”.

Deputy Connolly said this meant that a year on from the inspection, there were only four consultants working in face of chronic overcrowding.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the February 2 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism and buy a digital edition HERE.

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