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HSE defends spending at Toghermore House in Tuam

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HSE official Catherine Cunningham has said she would make no apologies for money spent on “improving facilities for patients” at the Toghermore House Mental Health facility near Tuam and she claimed some figures were exaggerated.

The Area Manager for Galway and Roscommon PCCC was addressing a meeting of Tuam Town Council last night.

For over an hour Catherine Cunningham discussed proposed HSE changes in mental health services across the Galway-Roscommon region.

But she reacted swiftly when Mayor Imelda Kelly said the official owed an apology on behalf of the HSE for alleged spending on items including “gilt edged mirrors” and chandeliers at Toghermore House.

Catherine Cunningham said figures were exaggerated and she can’t be accountable for what some previous officials may have spent.

She put in new controls after taking over responsibility for services last February and in reply to Cllrs Larry Bane and Pat O’Hora she said it was “a red herring” to suggest there were ever any plans to turn Toghermore House into HSE offices.

Cllr Sally Ann Flanagan said the HSE was looking at numbers and budgets in its Vision for Change document but Catherine Cunningham replied it had nothing to do with numbers or budgets but was all about improving mental health services.

Cllr Paul O’Grady said he hoped that HSE planning permission for a proposed primary health care centre at the former Grove site wasn’t another “red herring” and Cllr Mary Loftus questioned why the HSE was trying to fix services at Toghermore House which weren’t broken.

Meanwhile, a review from an expert group on Toghermore residential facility in Tuam and other community mental health services across Galway and Roscommon is expected to be available in the next month.

A decision was made last December to wind down the 18 bed facility in Tuam after a report revealed fire safety shortfalls.

Funding was later sanctioned to address immediate issues which has enabled residents to remain there pending the recommendations of the review.

Executive Clinical Director Dr. Amanda Burke says the report is expected within the next three to four weeks.

 

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Planning Board upholds city council decision to refuse planning for Kingston urban village proposal

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – An Bord Pleanála has decided to uphold the city council’s decion to refuse a plan for a new urban village in Kingston.

The development would have been located on lands on the south side of the Western Distributor Road at the Knocknacarra District Centre.

Phase one had set out to provide a mixed-use development with a licensed supermarket, a retail warehouse unit, nine retail service units, two medical/community units and a café/restaurant.

It also included a central civic space including play and exercise areas and a covered sports court.

City planners turned down the proposal in July stating the development would contravene policy with regards to urban layout and linkages proposed between phase 1 and 2.

It was also stated that the communal spaces along the north of the site are incidental while their usability and functionality as such spaces are limited.

The applicant 1 Kingston land Limited appealed that decision to the higher planning authority, arguing the proposed development fully meets the requirements for high quality urban design as set out in the development plan.

A local environmental group also lodged a third party appeal with concerns over what is described as ‘the inadequacy of the grounds of refusal’ stating it did not adequately reflect concerns as set out in its submission.

In refusing the plan, An Bord Pleanála stated the development is deficient by way of the nature and range of the proposed retail and mix of uses for such a designated district centre.

It was also stated the development is deficient and substandard in quality, layout, form and public amenity of the open space provision.

The Board was also not satisfied that the development would not endanger public safety by reason of traffic hazard.

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NUI Galway study identifies most important vascular risk factors for dementia

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From Galway Bay FM newsroom- An NUIG study has found controlling high blood pressure and diabetes, and following a healthier lifestyle from an earlier age could reduce risk of dementia in older age

The university teamed up with Boston University and the University of Texas with a study urging a personalised rather than a one size fits all approach to risk prediction.

The study examined data from 5,000 people to assess potential predictors for loss of cognitive function.

The most important vascular risk factors for dementia were high blood pressure and diabetes mellitus at age 55.

This is followed by cardiovascular disease at the age of 65.

Diabetes mellitus and previous stroke were identified as risk factors at ages 70 and 75.

Diabetes mellitus, previous stroke and not taking blood-pressure lowering medication was identified for those aged 80.

The study was published today in Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association of Ireland, 64,000 people are living with dementia in Ireland.

It is estimated that the number of people with the condition will more than double in the next 25 years.

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Preliminary business case for new emergency department at UHG set to be submitted

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From Galway Bay FM newsroom- HSE Chief Executive Paul Reid has told the Dáil the assessment review for the long awaited new emergency department and children’s unit at UHG has been received.

The Joint Health Committee heard a preliminary business case is expected to be submitted in the coming days.

Mr. Reid told Galway based Senator Sean Kyne it follows weeks of discussion on the right strategic location for the build.

The meeting also heard the temporary ED, involving a 13 million euro investment, is to be commissioned in the next two months.

When pressed on when the planning application will be finally submitted for the wider ED build, the HSE Chief said the business case must first be pushed through, while pre-planning talks are also underway with the local authority.

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