Galway is to become a regional centre for the treatment of bulimia and anorexia.
The HSE has confirmed to the Connacht Tribune that an eating disorder hub will be established at Merlin Park Hospital. The hub will be embedded in the local mental health service, and will cater for patients with eating disorders in Galway, Roscommon and Mayo.
Eight dedicated inpatient beds at the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) at Merlin Park will be set aside for the treatment of children and teenagers aged up to 18. The HSE has also recommended a further five adult beds for eating disorders.
“It’s a five-year plan, so budgets will be included in annual service plans under the mental health budget,” said a spokesperson for the HSE.
Galway’s eating disorder hub is part of a new national plan to deliver a ‘stepped care’ model for people with bulimia, anorexia and other mental health problems related to food and eating.
The HSE recommends that a dedicated eating disorder team is set up at each of the hubs around the country, including Galway.
“These teams will predominantly provide outpatient and intensive/day programmes, as well as consultation and support to people admitted to acute hospitals, in collaboration with liaison psychiatry services, medical, paediatric and inpatient teams. In the case of admissions of adults to psychiatric units, the eating disorder team will provide ongoing clinical care. In the case of admissions of under 18s to psychiatric units, the eating disorder team will provide consultation and support to the inpatient team as required,” the HSE said.
It is recommended that the Galway hub will have provision for outpatient, day-patient, and inpatient mental health services. There will be mini-hubs to serve smaller catchment areas with provision for outpatient and day-patient mental health services.
Eating disorders affect up to 5% of the population at some point in their lives, and anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of all of the mental health conditions, the HSE said.
“Because eating disorders tend to develop at a relatively young age, they result in very high psychosocial, healthcare and socioeconomic cost over the lifespan. Quality of life for people with eating disorders can be poor with significant impact on education and occupation. However, early intervention and specialised treatment programmes have been shown to be effective in improving clinical outcomes, promoting recovery and shortening the duration of illness.
“A challenge is that the clinical needs of this group cross the traditional divide between mental and physical health services. They therefore require an integrated approach to service provision. Barriers to recovery and access to services also include societal misunderstanding as to the causes of eating disorders, which have both genetic and environmental influences. This can lead to stigma and delay in seeking help. A relative lack of access to specialised training in eating disorders for clinicians can also lead to delay in access to services and appropriate evidence-based treatment.”
The HSE’s new recommended model of care, which includes creating hubs, has been devised by an inter-professional national working group of HSE clinicians, in collaboration with Bodywhys and the Eating Disorder Clinical Advisory Group from the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland
Two arrested following taxi hijacking in Galway
Gardaí have arrested two men following the hijacking of a taxi in Co Galway last night.
Shortly before midnight, Gardaí received a report that two men who were passengers in a taxi had attacked the driver and stole his vehicle.
The driver was ejected from the car on the M18 motorway.
Gardaí were alerted and observed the car in Claregalway.
A managed containment operation to ‘block in’ the taxi was put in place with assistance from the armed Regional Support Unit.
The car was brought to a stop on Bothar na dTreabh and two men fled on foot. The two men, one in his mid-20s and the other in his early-30s, were subsequently arrested.
They are currently detained at Garda HQ in Renmore under the provisions of Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984.
Man arrested after €90,000 drug seizure
Gardai have arrested a man after €90,000 worth of drugs were discovered in a bog near Ballinasloe.
As part of an ongoing surveillance operation, Gardai conducted a search in Poolboy Bog late yesterday afternoon.
They discovered €70,000 worth of cocaine, and a further €20,000 worth of cannabis along with other drug equipment.
A man in his 20s was arrested at the scene and taken to Ballinasloe Garda Station.
He’s since been charged and will appear before Ballinasloe District Court next Thursday.
Waiting lists surge since pandemic
Waiting lists at Galway hospitals have rocketed since the onset of Covid-19, with fears that the situation will only worsen as doubts have been cast over the long-awaited new elective hospital at Merlin Park.
Figures released from the National Treatment Purchase Fund, which covers the cost of outsourcing public patients to private hospitals, show that since 2020, waiting lists locally have surged by almost 25%.
Galway City Councillor Níall McNelis said statistics obtained by the Labour Party showed the numbers waiting for inpatient and outpatient treatment were ever increasing, and little was being done to address the problem.
“Waiting lists have skyrocketed since the beginning of 2020 and have increased from 52,935 in January to 65,548 in March 2021, an increase of a whopping 23.8% in a little over a year.
“In every specialism, the numbers waiting at Galway University Hospitals are growing and growing month after month, with the number of people waiting for general surgery growing from 3,468 to 4,990 – a 43.9% increase; [the list for] cardiology treatment has grown from 2,406 to 3,231, a 34.3% increase in little over 14 months,” said the Labour Party councillor.
This sharp increase in waiting times came as Moycullen-based Senator Seán Kyne (FG) cast doubt over the mooted 200 in-patient beds and new elective hospital at Merlin Park – something that has long been presented as the solution to Galway’s health woes.
See the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie