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CITY TRIBUNE

Inspectors from HIQA praise management of maternity unit at University Hospital

Denise McNamara

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The gynaecology theatre at UHG.

The maternity unit at University Hospital Galway has been given a clean bill of health by inspectors from the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA).

The only ‘bone of contention’ concerned the lack of specialists ringfenced for the labour ward, where infrastructure was also found to be lacking.

The maternity unit was fully compliant with seven national standards and substantially compliant with a further three, with inspectors praising the department for having “a clearly defined and effective leadership, governance and management structure”.

“There was good oversight of the quality and safety of services by senior managers at the hospital who used multiple sources of information to identify opportunities for improvement.

“The hospital’s senior management team monitored performance data including patient outcomes, service user feedback and patient safety incidents and benchmarked its performance against other similar sized hospitals,” the report found.

Inspectors did find a limited number of areas that needed to be improved. They found there were an insufficient number of consultant anaesthesiologists at the hospital to provide a dedicated obstetric anaesthetic service, which needed to sufficiently resourced in line with national standards.

The anaesthetic service in the maternity unit was led by a consultant anaesthesiologist with specialist training in obstetric anaesthesia.

“However, the hospital did not have a designated obstetric anaesthetic service in line with national standards. The anaesthetic service was largely staffed by anaesthesiologists from the general anaesthesiology rota at the hospital.”

While an audit had found that times for an anaesthesiologist to attend the Maternity Unit were “timely”, inspectors had been informed that the anaesthetic team was not always informed about the level of urgency when contacted to attend for an emergency caesarean section.

“This information is required by the anaesthetic team so that they can prioritise their workload. The absence of this is of concern and should be addressed by the hospital,” the report states.

Hospital management has submitted business plans to recruit additional consultant anaesthesiologists so that a 24-hour dedicated obstetric anaesthesiology service could be provided. This had yet to be progressed. They had recently applied to the HSE for funding for two additional consultant anaesthesiologists.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Mercedes on track to fulfil promise to drive down fuel figures

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The Mercedes Benz CLA Shooting Brake.

This week’s test car has become this month’s test car because most car distributors have shut up shop as per Government orders and I’m left with the Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake until everything is up and running again.

For this I’m extremely grateful to Motor Distributors Ltd (MDL) – Mercedes distributors in Ireland – for allowing me to hold on to this eye-catching car.

Those with an eye for style will understand why Mercedes-Benz has produced the CLA Shooting Brake. Those with a practical persuasion might ridicule it, but a closer look might just challenge that position.

You see, some of the dimensions give a lie to any thoughts of this car being too sleek and too low to be a proper estate. It actually has more space in the boot than their own C-Class estate, and more headroom than the C-Class coupe.

As for the car itself, apart from the ultra-stylish, sleek exterior and the classy interior, this car, like many other cars in the Mercedes brochure, has one outstanding highlight: astonishing fuel consumption.

About six years ago, Mercedes bosses told us that they were on a mission to drive down fuel figures and to clean up their diesel engines beyond anything that was around back then. Right now, they are well into that target and this car is testament to that.

So far I have travelled around 500 kilometres, with 680 kilometres still left in the tank. My current rate of consumption is reading at 4.3L/100km which has been achieved without breaking any limits and driving, for the most part, in ECO or Comfort mode.

CO2 emissions are calculated at 108g/km which gives you an annual road tax bill of €190. These are impressive figures and imply that diesel can still have a significant role to play in the future of motoring.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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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CITY TRIBUNE

New Covid-19 assessment clinic at Merlin Park

Enda Cunningham

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The HSE is opening a new assessment clinic at Merlin Park Hospital this week for Covid-19 patients who are showing mild symptoms.

The Community Assessment Hub is for patients who are confirmed Covid-19 positive and who require face-to-face clinical assessment.

Appointments for the seven day service (8am-8pm) are through GP referral only and walk-ins are not permitted.

A HSE spokesperson said the idea behind the hub is to keep mildly symptomatic patients away from the acute hospital system.

“The aim of the hubs is to divert mildly symptomatic patients who require medical assessment away from the acute hospital system by providing a facility in the community where patients can be seen, and clinically assessed by a team of nurses, doctors and physiotherapists,” the spokesperson said.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Redundancies are not on the cards for Galway City Council workers

Dara Bradley

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Redundancies at Galway City Council as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic have been ruled out by Chief Executive Brendan McGrath.

The local authority has imposed a temporary ban on recruitment, but is not planning to lay off any of its 520-strong workforce.

Mr McGrath said that down the road, if this crisis continues for a prolonged period, replacing staff who retire may not be possible. But for now, Council workers are ‘flat out’ maintaining essential services across a range of departments.

“No, we’re not planning that (lay offs). We will endeavour to keep our workforce fully employed. We’ve built up our team since the recession, a lot of our team and the additional bodies we’ve taken on are related to specific projects, for which there was various forms of grant aid available so I think we’d be confident that we will try to be able to retain the entire staff resource,” he said.

Nearly 150 members of staff have been set up to work from home, thanks to the ICT Department at City Hall.

Outdoor staff, and other office staff who must be at City Hall, are observing social distancing guidelines. Offices that used to be packed with people now have one or two workers, spaced in accordance with the guidelines.

As with the private sector, there have been changes to the ‘normal’ working week for Council staff, and some have been redeployed to other areas.

The Council has a statutory obligation to maintain essential services.

“Essential services are anything to do with homelessness; urgent housing repairs like plumbing and electrical; work on houses that were nearly complete to bring back into beneficial use and to bring back into use for self-isolation; public lighting is essential; burst water mains; maintaining traffic lights for road safety; and anything to do with water supply and waste water and treating effluent,” said Mr McGrath.

Street cleaning is classed as ‘necessary but not absolutely essential’, and is a slightly lower category than ‘essential services’.

The rota for street cleaning has been cut back to a number of times a week rather than every day, and this reflects the quieter streets due to people staying at home.

The city’s burial grounds are closed, but graves still need to be opened, and the Planning Department continues to operate.

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