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Connacht Tribune

Hospitals lose thousands of bed days over delays

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Hospital patient

Galway’s three public hospitals are filled with treated patients who do not need to be in hospital any longer.

New damning figures reveal that thousands of bed days were lost at University Hospital Galway, Merlin Park and Portiuncula in Ballinasloe because of delays in discharging patients.

Galway University Hospitals (UHG and Merlin Park) lost a whopping 3,859 bed days in the first six months of this year alone because of delayed discharges. Another 597 bed days were lost between January and June at Portiuncula due to delayed discharges.

This in turn is contributing to overcrowding on wards and patients being left on trolleys in the corridors of the Emergency Department.

The official Health Service Executive figures were released to Fianna Fáil, following a parliamentary question to the Minister for Health, Simon Harris.

Nationally, there were more than 91,000 delayed discharges at hospitals across the country, with the major Dublin hospitals in particular guilty of wasting beds.

Grace Rothwell of the HSE’s acute hospital division said a patient is classified as a delayed discharge “when they no longer need to be in an acute hospital setting but have no access to appropriate step-down care”.

Galway East TD, Anne Rabbitte has slammed the loss of bed days as “unjustifiable”.

The Fianna Fáil TD said the chronic overcrowding at hospitals such as UHG cannot be solved until the problem of delayed discharges is tackled by the HSE and Government.

She said there was a lack of step-down beds or home supports in place to allow patients to be discharged from hospital and be where they want to be: at home or cared for in the community.

“From both a resource and patient care point of view, these lost bed days are unjustifiable, and it is further evidence that the level of support being provided to older patients is not good enough.

“We know that across the State, there are too few step-down beds in the health system and that home supports remain inadequate. The excessive and unforgivable situation where hundreds of patients are lying on trolleys in Emergency Departments or in wards is directly related to the number of bed days lost in the system,” said Deputy Rabbitte.

The bed days lost to delayed discharges at UHG and Merlin Park included: 637 in January, 578 in February, 687 in March, 687 in April, 636 in May, and 634 in June. The bed days lost to delayed discharges in Ballinasloe included: 56 in January, 115 in February, 155 in March, 170 in April, 65 in May and 36 in June. There were a further 1,815 bed days lost to delayed discharges at Mayo University Hospital and some 977 bed days lost at Roscommon University Hospital.

The Portumna based politician believes the resources spent on delayed discharges should be redirected to home care packages, which would be more efficient and ease pressure on a local hospital system that is at capacity.

“If a fraction of these lost days were put back into use every day through better supports for older people upon discharge, we could radically reduce the number of people lying on trolleys. My instinct is that the amount being spent on keeping these patients in hospital is a lot more than the cost of providing decent, quality home care packages or care in a step-down care facility.

“The HSE must accept that utilising our community hospital facilities to support and care for non-acute patients is the way to go. By removing them from acute hospitals, we can ensure that more beds are available for people attending Emergency Departments, as well as for those on waiting lists for in-patient procedures,” added Deputy Rabbitte.

Connacht Tribune

Record crowds pack Ballinasloe to celebrate Fair’s 300th anniversary

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Crowds flock to the Fairgreen at the Ballinasloe Horse Fair.

RECORD crowds packed into Ballinasloe last weekend for the return of the famous October Fair – but it turned to be a ‘dry day’ for the punters with most of the pubs in the town taking the decision to close their doors on Sunday.

Hotels in the town also adopted either a ‘food only’ or ‘residents only’ policy through Sunday but Gardaí reported a trouble-free weekend in the town.

“There were huge crowds around and especially so on Sunday, but we had no reports of any trouble – it was practically an incident free weekend,” said a Garda spokesperson.

Many visitors to the Fair on Sunday expressed disappointment at the decision of the pubs to close  – although a few establishments did open their doors with special security arrangements in place.

The last ‘official fair’ took place in October, 2019, and while there was an unofficial event last year, it was only a small gathering due to the Covid restrictions.

An estimated 3,000 people turned out for the free open-air country music concert with Mike Denver in the Square on Sunday afternoon and Fair organisers also reported a very busy sales day with many horses changing hands.

Trustee of the Ballinasloe Showgrounds, Gerry Stronge, told the Connacht Tribune, that after a three-year break, the crowds had really thronged back into the town on Sunday.

“Most people I know that have been attending the Fair for years said that it was biggest crowd they had ever seen there on the first Sunday of the event.

“It was an incredible day – the streets were absolutely jammed with people – and it was most enjoyable with no trouble whatsoever,” he said.

Get the full story with loads of photos in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

A remarkable rally sees St Thomas’ reel in the ’Bridge

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Clarinbridge's Conor Lee tries to shake off the attentions of St Thomas' Victor Manso during Saturday's Senior A Group tie at Kenny Park. Photos: David Cunniffe.

St. Thomas’ 4-20

Clarinbridge 4-17

DARREN KELLY AT KENNY PARK

NOTHING at ‘stake’ but pride and last year’s two senior hurling championship finalists had plenty of that on Saturday as St. Thomas and Clarinbridge served up a thriller in their final group game.

Both teams were already guaranteed places in the knockout stages but for the winners, a path straight through to the quarter-finals proper was the reward and they played like that meant everything.

Obviously, neither side wanted to show weakness ahead of a potential showdown later in the year. The contest even had a half-time scuffle that resulted in yellow cards for St. Thomas’ duo John Headd and Conor Cooney.

Despite all that and the changing weather, the hurling was the only item for discussion afterwards. Three first half Clarinbridge goals gave them a 3-10 to 0-11 interval lead.  Four green flags for St. Thomas in the second period reminded the county that they still are the team to beat.

And that was the talking point before throw-in following their 22-match unbeaten streak ending with a heavy defeat to Turloughmore two weeks previously. And it wasn’t looking any better for St. Thomas’ when TJ Brennan struck a second minute goal for Clarinbridge.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Country Living

Recalling strange times that ‘shook up’ our lives

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

THE other day while doing another of those clear-outs of old documents that are well past their sell-by-date, I came across a couple of letters from my employer, which jolted me back into another world . . . but still a quite recent one.

Their purpose was to indicate that I needed to show up for work in-person (an essential employee if you don’t mind!) and if I was stopped at a Garda Covid checkpoint, then I could produce this piece of paperwork. We really did go through some strange times.

There are occasions too when I leave my desk and just for a split-second think that I’ve forgotten to don my mask. That same feeling also crosses my mind at times as I enter shops or other public places but then I realise that’s all very much of ‘yesterday’s news’.

Reminders still persist of those black days across the country mostly on visits to healthcare settings like pharmacies, GP surgeries or nursing homes, where staff still wear masks, and visitors are encouraged to do the same.

It takes me back to a Sunday evening on March 15, 2020, in my local watering hole less than 48-hours before the arrival of St. Patrick’s Day, when we were all highly sceptical about any pubs closing down.

We reassured ourselves too that such a development could never happen in a country noted for ‘the craic’ as our traditional day of national celebration approached. In our innocence, we thought we were wise old sods . . . but we had gotten things spectacularly wrong.

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.

 

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