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Hundreds have cancer appointments cancelled

Dara Bradley

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Hospital patient

Hundreds of patients undergoing cancer treatment had their clinic appointments cancelled at short-notice this year at University Hospital Galway, according to shameful new statistics.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) West has confirmed that it cancelled a total of 866 clinic appointments for cancer patients at UHG since January.
The HSE has admitted the scandal and has blamed a shortage of staff at the city hospital, which is one of the country’s so-called cancer ‘centres of excellence’.
Independent City Councillor Catherine Connolly described the figures as shocking at the latest regional health forum meeting.
Tony Canavan, CEO Saolta university healthcare group, confirmed to her a total of 95 oncology clinics were cancelled since January, and that directly impacted on 866 cancer patients.
The clinics are used to treat patients and to review the progress of their chemotherapy treatments, and so on. He said the clinics were cancelled due a lack of cancer staff but he gave a commitment to Cllr Connolly that the four vacant posts at the oncology department would be filled by this July.
Cllr Connolly tabled the question after she was approached by cancer patients who had their appointments cancelled.
“One woman was told on Friday that her appointment was not going ahead the following Tuesday. She was told there wasn’t enough staff for the clinics. They now have told us that there are 866 cancer patients whose clinics were cancelled.
“The sheer numbers are shocking, 866 in less than five month since January. They are clearly telling us that this is a staffing problem. I think the staff are wonderful, there aren’t enough of them. I don’t know how they keep going in a system that is falling apart around them,” she said.
Cllr Connolly said that patients were going through enough while undergoing treatment for cancer, and cancelling clinics at late notice was heaping unnecessary stress on them.
Mr Canavan said there are four staff vacancies in oncology but replacement posts have been recruited and will be in place by July 2015, when “full clinic capacity will be restored”. He said extra staff, including a registrar, an intern and part-time tutor, had already been recruited to “facilitate greater clinic capacity”.

For more on this story, see the Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City publican in heroic River Corrib rescue

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A city publican who last week helped save the life of a woman who had entered the waters of the Corrib off Wolfe Tone Bridge has made an appeal for young people to ‘look out for each other’.

Fergus McGinn, proprietor of McGinn’s Hop House in Woodquay, had been walking close to Jury’s Inn when he saw the young woman enter the river.

He then rushed to the riverbank on the Long Walk side of the bridge, jumped into the water, spoke to the woman and stayed with her until the emergency services arrived.

The incident occurred at about 3.45pm on Friday last, and a short time later the emergency services were on the scene to safely rescue the woman.

“She was lucky in that the river level was very low and she didn’t injure herself on the rocks and stones just under the water.”

He also appealed to the public to support in whatever they could the work being done by groups like the Claddagh Watch volunteers.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Pubs face court – for serving booze on their doorsteps!

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have warned city publicans that alcohol cannot be served outside their own premises – even in newly-created on-street spaces designated by Galway City Council as suitable for outdoor dining.

Councillor Mike Crowe (FF) said three Gardaí visited a number of city centre pubs on Thursday afternoon informing them that drinking outdoors was not allowed under licensing laws.

“They warned publicans and restaurants that the area outside their premises is not covered by the licence, and therefore under national legislation, they are breaking the law, because they are not entitled to sell alcohol in non-licensed areas.

“The operators were told that this was an official warning, and they will be back again in a few days and if it persisted, they [Gardaí] would have no option but to issue a charge and forward files to the Director of Public Prosecution. You could not make this up.

“All of the big operators were visited, and received an official warning, and they will be charged if they persist. According to the guards, they’re getting instructions from [Garda headquarters in] Phoenix Park,” he said.

The matter will be raised at a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee on Monday.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Call for 50% affordable homes in new Galway City Council estates

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The next Galway City Development Plan should include a greater provision for affordable housing than that recommended by Government, a meeting of the City Council has heard.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) told the meeting that while it was the Government’s intention to introduce a stipulation that new estates should have 10% affordable housing, Galway should go further – building anything up to 50% affordable in developments that are led by the local authority.

The Affordable Housing Bill, which is currently working its way through the Oireachtas, proposes that all developments should have 10% affordable and 10% social housing as a condition of their approval.

Affordable housing schemes help lower-income households buy their own houses or apartments in new developments at significantly less than their open market value, while social housing is provided by local authorities and housing agencies to those who cannot afford their own accommodation.

The Council meeting, part of the pre-draft stage of forming the Development Plan to run from 2023 to 2029, was to examine the overarching strategies that will inform the draft plan to come before councillors by the end of the year and Cllr McDonnell said a more ambitious target for affordable housing was absolutely necessary.

“It must be included that at least 50% of housing must be affordable [in social housing developments],” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) who questioned if the City Council was ‘tied down’ by national guidelines, or if it could increase the minimum percentage of affordable housing required locally.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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