The HSE has finally been given the green light for the construction of new operating theatres for Merlin Park Hospital – nearly two years after existing theatres were shut down due to a leaking roof.
At the moment, there are more than 6,900 people on inpatient and outpatient waiting lists at Galway’s two public hospitals – including around 2,000 people waiting for hip and knee replacements, as well as spinal, ankle and shoulder surgeries at Merlin Park.
Consultant surgeons at the hospital described the waiting list as “catastrophic” and warned that patients are clinically worsening as they wait to be admitted for surgery.
The planning decision by Galway City Council last week comes almost two years after a leaking roof at the hospital saw the existing theatres building shut down, although one of them subsequently reopened following refurbishment works.
The plans involve the construction of a new 613 square metre modular building and link corridor to the main hospital building to replace the existing to theatres, which the HSE has described as “no longer fit for purpose”.
There will be two orthopaedic theatre suites and supporting each theatre will be an anaesthetic room, pre and post-operative recovery rooms, staff changing, toilet facilities and storage.
According to documentation filed with the City Council, the building – despite use of the term ‘modular’ – will be a permanent structure, and elements of it may be constructed off site “to facilitate the rapid delivery of this essential healthcare facility”.
“An orthopaedic theatre by its very nature must be a substantial solid structure to meet the strict criteria for this clinical use, therefore a significant degree of permeance is required, in excess of 20+ years.
“The current adjacent hospital building has four operating theatres, however, only two of these are in regular use. The current theatres are more than 40 years old and no longer fit for purpose, mainly due to space constraints – it is intended that the new theatre facility will replace the existing obsolete theatres.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
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Minister deploys high-level ‘rescue’ team to help University Hospital Galway
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has deployed a high-level National Support Team to help crisis-stricken University Hospital Galway
Ann Cosgrove, Chief Operating Officer of the Saolta University Healthcare Group – which operates UHG and Merlin Park – confirmed this week that the ‘rescue’ team was in place to tackle overcrowding and delays at the Emergency Department.
Membership of the support team includes at least seven high-level HSE managers, including a hospital consultant.
The team has already met with local staff in charge of patient flow, discharges, bed management and unscheduled care. They will write up an action plan to improve the patient experience, she said.
The hospital has implemented a targeted intervention plan over the past few months to reduce the number of patients on trolleys while awaiting admission to a bed, focusing on timely diagnostics and decision making and the timely discharge of patients.
To achieve this, the hospital had been approved to recruit seven patient flow coordinators, one “data analyst for the acute floor” and one medical social worker.
Management are also in talks to increase bed capacity with the Galway Clinic and the Bon Secours private hospitals.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, and support our journalism, see the November 25 edition of the Galway City Tribune. There is also extensive coverage this week of plans for a new cancer Centre of Excellence and the latest meeting of the Regional Health Forum West. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Shoplifting in Galway almost doubles as cost of living crisis takes hold
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The rate of shoplifting in the Galway City has skyrocketed as the cost of living crisis takes hold.
At a public meeting of the City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) on Tuesday, it was revealed that the rate of theft from shops in the city had increased by 87% year-on-year.
Chief Data Analyst for the Galway Garda Division, Olivia Maher, said this was in line with a national trend.
“There is some thought that this is as a result of the cost of living crisis and the pressures that people are under as a result – we are seeing these trends at a national level,” said Ms Maher.
She said that overall, property theft had begun to return to pre-Covid levels, with 1,264 incidents in the first 10 months of 2022 – a 50% increase on the same period last year.
“Property crime is beginning to reach pre-Covid figures and while it’s up on last year, it’s down 5% on the 2019 figure.
“Burglary is still trending below pre-Covid figures at 107 compared to 192 in 2019,” said Ms Maher.
An increased awareness of fraud was resulting in a reduction in a number of categories, including accommodation fraud, something that typically affects the city’s third level students.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the November 25 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Knocknacarra Educate Together NS mark World Children’s Day
From this week’s Galway City Tribune Schools’ Pages – World Children’s Day is celebrated each year on November 20 – it is UNICEF’s annual day of action for children, by children.
For the pupils of Knocknacarra Educate Together National School, this day is about teaching children about their rights and raising awareness of how they can use them.
They demonstrated this by hosting the Happy Hour on University of Galway’s FlirtFM 101.3 last Tuesday.
6th Class student Leon said: “We are hoping to raise awareness of children’s rights, mainly because some children may not know what they even are. Not all children know that they have rights. We want to help children understand what they deserve.”
The day is also an opportunity to draw attention to important issues affecting children locally, nationally and on an international level.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of when Ireland first signed the Children’s Rights Charter in 1992. This charter contains 42 articles which specifically outline the rights of the child. These include the rights to an education, to play, to access health care, to have a voice, to have protection from violence and to have a decent standard of living.
To acknowledge this important event, Mayor of Galway, Clodagh Higgins, visited the school to learn about its school’s three-year journey to become formally recognised as a Child Rights School. It will be the first school in Galway to earn the UNICEF Child Rights Ribbon.
As part of this work, each class has created their own charter which is an agreement on how the rights of the child will be made real in their classrooms. This links to article four on the Convention of the rights of the child ‘Making Rights Real’.
The whole school has a fortnightly focus on the different articles within the Convention of the Rights of the Child.
This involves highlighting child-friendly information and activities which enable children to explore children’s rights in their classes.
Children have learnt about experiences of children from other countries and shared their thoughts and views. The have explored how the articles from the Convention impact them in their lives and discussed why each one is important. The articles which we have learnt about as a school this year to date are as follows:
Article 12 – Respect for Children’s Views
Article 14 – Freedom of Thought and Religion
Article 15 – Setting Up or Joining Groups.
Article 38 – Protection in War
Article 39 – Recovery and Reintegration
The Student Council are also busy translating the school policies into more child-friendly language in order to make school information accessible for all.
Dexter, a student in third class, said: “I feel happy and feel more important than I did before. I thought I had to always listen to the adults. I feel like I have a chance to speak for myself now.”
For more information, see HERE
■ This article was written by the Child Rights Committee and Student Council at Knocknacarra Educate Together National School.
See the November 25 edition of the Galway City Tribune for photos and news from Knocknacarra Educate Together NS; St Patrick’s Primary School and Oranmore Boys’ School. You can send us news from your city primary or secondary school for inclusion in our weekly ‘Class Act’ pages to firstname.lastname@example.org