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New drug and alcohol initiative to target children

Declan Tierney

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A major initiative to tackle drug and alcohol abuse has been launched this week in Galway – and one of its main focuses is to target young children as part of an early intervention initiative.

And it is hoped that a new strategy, the first of its kind in the country, will reduce the stigma of substance abuse as well as providing education programmes for schools, the general public and professionals who work with families.

The Western Region Drug and Alcohol Task Force launched their new support strategy for addicts and their families this week.

The strategy is to create greater awareness of the needs of families affected by substance use and to increase the visibility of supports available. It also encourages families of substance abusers to seek support.

The family support element of the new strategy is an approach to working with children, young people, parents and families which is based on a style of work which emphasises prevention, early intervention and a focus on the strengths of family members.

Deirdre Hurney, Chairperson of the Western Region Drug and Alcohol Task Force welcomed the completion of this initiative and said it signified the importance of the Regional Family Support Strategy when she highlighted “it is well documented the distress and destabilising effect caused by addiction to the family unit.”

She added: “This strategy aims to develop a co-ordinated plan to improve and enhance support for individuals and family members living with such distress.

“It is the first of its kind in the country and reflects the commitment of the task force to supporting both users and their family members affected by substance misuse.”

Co-author of the strategy, Debbie McDonagh, who is family support co-ordinator, said that the initiative emphasises the need to support families due to the stress and chaos that substance misuse has on thousands of families in the West of Ireland

“Children, parents, carers, siblings and extended family members are impacted by substance misuse and we must develop targeted prevention, intervention and ancillary supports for them,” Ms McDonagh stated.

She said that this strategy was developed through an extensive consultation process with service providers and family members. She added that this strategy strives to be a cohesive and integrated plan for the task force and its partners aimed at meeting the needs of families affected by drugs and alcohol.

The task force has established its 24 goals for the next four years and aims to work with all relevant stakeholders to achieve these ambitions. The strategy will be overseen by the Western Region Drug and Alcohol Task Force Family Support Working Group and will be reviewed on an annual basis.

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

Nuns seek inspiration on proposal for new convent

Enda Cunningham

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The existing Presentation Convent, which was built in the mid-18th century and operated as a military barracks and fever hospital.

The Presentation Sisters have been told that the site for their proposed new city centre convent is not big enough, as there are already plans for the new Our Lady’s College building there.

Earlier this year, the Sisters decided that upgrade works to the existing building would be “very invasive”.

The Sisters subsequently sought permission to construct a two-storey building with 14 bedrooms, an oratory, reception, living and dining areas, utility rooms and administrator’s apartment on the site at Presentation Road.

The plans also involve moving the existing vehicular entrance and the demolition of the extension and outbuildings at the disused national school building, which is a protected structure, and to convert the building into two residential units.

“This application is primarily for a new convent building for the Sisters within the boundaries of the current premises. It will facilitate a residency to current standards with a building suitable to meet their needs in a manner that is compliant with current building regulations.

“This arose as an alternative following an examination and feasibility of interventions and upgrades to the old convent building. Such works would be very invasive to the old building. As such, this proposal does not involve any intensification of use or occupancy of the site.

“The siting of the building is selected to minimise impacts on the gardens. The application also includes for the renovation and alterations to the derelict national school, to bring it into residential use. This will be ancillary to the use of the convent and not other residential use,” the application reads.

According to an architectural heritage assessment report, the Presentation Sisters have occupied the existing convent building since 1819. It was built in the mid-18th century and had previously operated as a charter school, military barracks and fever hospital.

“The overall works will bring it back into a sustainable use which prevents dereliction and will aid its longevity into the future,” the application reads.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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

Pub and GAA club visits on the agenda for Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Stephen Corrigan

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Two senior members of the British Royal Family are to visit Galway next month – with preparations already underway to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the city in March.

Gardaí issued notice yesterday (Thursday) morning that a number of streets in the city are to be closed on March 5. Coinciding with the already announced visit of ‘Kate and Wills’ to Ireland, this caused widespread speculation that the royal pair would cross the Shannon as part of their visit.

While Gardaí and Galway City Council refused to confirm or deny the speculation yesterday, the Galway City Tribune understands that Kate and William will spend the day in Galway, and will visit Tigh Chóilí on Mainguard Street – as well as calling in on Salthill-Knocknacarra GAA club.

The Garda notice issued yesterday alerts locals that Williamsgate Street, William Street, Shop Street, High Street, Mainguard Street and possibly Abbeygate Street will all be closed between 6am and 2pm on March 5 – making way for the large security operation required for a royal visit.

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

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
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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