High demand for beds at University Hospital Galway – particularly from those aged over 75 – was the reason for significant overcrowding in the Emergency Department, according to the Minister for Health.
Minister Simon Harris said HSE figures showed there were 783 patients left waiting on trolleys at the ED in April – and increase of 22% from 643 in April 2018.
He was responding to a written Dáil question from Galway West TD Éamon Ó Cuív, who asked the reason for the “significant overcrowding in the ED at UHG during April”.
The Minister said that during the first quarter of this year, the number of patients attending the ED increase by more than 8% on the same period last year.
He said the HSE’s Winter Plan for 2019/20 (preparing for additional pressures associated with the winter period, such as increased presentations of older people, flu and vomiting bugs) will ‘learn lessons’ from last winter.
“The Winter Plan 2018/19, recognising the multiple factors across the health service that impact on Emergency Department performance, included a range of measures to support patients accessing services in the community and in hospitals.
“Planning for Winter 2019/20 has already commenced, with a review of performance over the Winter Period currently underway to ensure that the lessons learned from this year inform future plans.
“With regard to UHG, for the first quarter of 2019, in comparison to 2018, the number of patients attending the Emergency Department increased by 8.4% and the number of patients admitted decreased by 0.3%. The number of patients recorded on trolleys at 8am reduced by 7.9%.
“Unfortunately, the improved trolley performance did not continue into April and provisional data highlights that the number of patients waiting on trolleys in UHG increased from 643 in April 2018 to 783 in April 2019,” said the Minister.
He explained that data in relation to attendance and admissions for April is not available yet.
“However, the HSE has advised that hospitals are reporting very high levels of demand, high patient acuity and high bed occupancy, especially in the over 75-year-old cohort of patients.
“In addition, delayed discharges are above the expected activity threshold set out in the National Service Plan and Hospitals and Community Health Organisations are reporting constrained options for supported discharges, particularly in relation to home support and long-term care.
“Building upon the actions in the Winter Plan, and to meet the ongoing operational challenges, robust planning arrangements were put in place for the Easter and May bank holiday weekends by Hospital Groups and Community Health Organisations, and efforts are continuing to build upon the improved performance achieved nationally and in UHG in the first three months of the year,” the Minister said in his written response.
Motorcyclist killed in Galway crash
A motorcyclist has died following a crash in Renmore this morning.
Shortly after 10am, the motorcyclist – aged in his 40s – was seriously injured when his motorbike collided with a car on the R338 Old Dublin Road at Renmore Park. The motorcyclist was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later.
The crash site was fully examined by Garda Forensic Collision Investigators and the road has now reopened to traffic.
The deceased was removed to the mortuary at University Hospital Galway and the Coroner has been notified.
Investigating Gardaí are appealing witnesses to come forward and have asked anyone who was travelling in the area at the time and has dashcam footage to contact them.
Wrecking ball for once-great social hub, the Corrib Great Southern Hotel
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – It was the summer of ’69, and the landmark Great Southern Hotel in Eyre Square was booming.
Every evening, 180 guests – mostly American tourists – thronged its dining room for dinner. Similar numbers were served breakfast, with about 150 for lunch.
It was so busy, the semi-state company planned another 160-bedroom sister hotel, the Corrib Great Southern, on the Dublin Road.
Then the Troubles in Northern Ireland started, and “business fell off a cliff”, recalled Richard Lyons, who worked in both hotels, including 35 years as maître d in the newer one.
“They were building the Corrib when the Troubles started and they decided they had to cut back the rooms by 40. That’s how they finished with 120 bedrooms,” he said.
The hotel was opened on May 27, 1971, by Brian Lenihan Snr, the then Minister for Transport and Power, and Bishop of Galway, Michael Browne.
But the legacy of the Troubles lingered for years after, according to Renmore resident Richard – debt from State borrowing to build a new hotel up North, which was twice bombed by the IRA, threatened the very existence of the semi-state hotel group owned by CIÉ.
In the early 1980s, hotel group debt grew to nearly £8 million, and the Fine Gael and Labour Coalition Government headed by Garret Fitzgerald decided to liquidate it.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story of the hotel, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Galway City Council extends outdoor dining into October
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The summer of alfresco dining looks set to be extended into the late autumn, with Galway City Council confirming this week their plans to extend the outdoor arrangements to October 22.
Local councillors, hospitality representatives and the City Council have said this week that the extension of outdoor dining at five city locations from September 30 to October 22 next, reflects public satisfaction with the current set-up.
This week the City Council published statutory public notices to clear the way for a continuation of the existing road closures required to facilitate outdoor dining on William Street West, Raven Terrace, Dominick Street Upper, Woodquay and the Small Crane.
Johnny Duggan, Chairman of the city branch of the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland and proprietor of Taylor’s Bar on Dominick Street, told the Galway City Tribune that the outdoor dining initiative during the summer had been a ‘huge success’ both from a viability and operational viewpoint.
“It has brought a life and vibrancy back into these areas in a very safe and controlled environment – the move makes sense in terms of the October 22 deadline set for the return of normal business,” he said.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and for a proposal to bring an ice rink back to Leisureland, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.