A €400,000 machine purchased by a Galway City hospital for treating public patients with kidney problems was lying idle for three years.
The HSE West has confirmed that the Extracorporeal Shockwave Lithotripor (ESWL) machine, bought by University Hospital Galway in 2010, finally came into use last month.
But local TD, Brian Walsh, who raised the issue, says it is “shameful” that this machine was lying idle locally while hundreds of public patients had to travel to Dublin for treatment.
He said the whole episode highlights, “the reckless waste and lack of financial control that has afflicted our health service”.
The HSE purchased the machine for UHG in February, 2010 at a cost of around €400,000 including VAT.
It was idle and wasn’t used for ESWL on one single public patient in the years 2010 or 2011.
The HSE has conceded that it was used for public patients on three days only in 2012 – during that three day period in August, just ten public patients were treated, the HSE said.
It wasn’t used for ESWL at all again in 2013 to treat public patients, for whom it was purchased. The health authority has confirmed that the machine is finally in use again for its intended purpose and is based beside the Radiology Department at UHG.
It says that to date, since the service recommenced on January 27 of this year, some 15 public patients have been treated using the machine.
“This service is now resourced with a full-time nurse and will run three days per week initially. It is planned to treat 12 patients per week,” said Ann Cosgrove, general manager at Galway University Hospitals.
However, Deputy Walsh says there are still questions to be answered in relation to why the expensive machine was out of action for three years.
“I know constituents who have been in the position of having impassable kidney stones and urgently needed the treatment provided by this machine in the past few years,” said Deputy Walsh.
He added: “It is nothing short of shameful that our regional hospital has been in possession of the requisite equipment but patients like these have had to travel to Tallaght in order to receive the treatment that they so urgently required.
Read more in today’s Connacht Sentinel
Connacht Tribune tributes to loved ones
These past few months have seen so many communities left to silently mourn family members and friends, whose funerals they would have attended in such numbers, were it not for the current Covid-19 restrictions.
But those that are gone have not been, and will not be, forgotten – which is why we want to open the pages of the Connacht Tribune to you to tell their stories.
If you’ve lost a loved one, whether to Covid-19 or not, or if your community or organization or sports club is mourning the death of a valued member and friend, you can email us your tribute and we will publish it in our papers.
All you have to do it to click on the above link, and it will take you to a short set of questions which you can fill in – and then add whatever you feel tells the story of the life of your friend, family member or colleague.
You can email that with a photograph to us, to email@example.com or you can post it to ‘Obituaries’, Connacht Tribune, 21 Liosban Business Park – and please enclose a contact number in case we have any queries.
We sympathise with anyone who has lost a loved one at this awful time, particularly given that so many people were unable to mourn with them and their family in person – and we hope that this will help in some small way to show those family members that we are all united in grief, even from a distance.
This is an additional feature we are providing alongside our long-established weekly Family Notices section where loved ones are remembered immediately by Months Mind Notices and annual anniversary remembrances. You can contact our team for further details at firstname.lastname@example.org
WATCH: The Olivers to the rescue … again!
Father and son rescue team Patrick and Morgan Oliver were back in action in Salthill this morning, when they helped a swimmer who got into difficulty.
A member of the public raised the alarm at around 10.30am and the Coastguard sought the assistance of Galway Lifeboat who launched from Galway Docks.
Two members of the lifeboat shore crew made their way to the promenade to assist in the rescue.
Patrick and Morgan Oliver were fishing off Salthill at the time and spotted the man taking refuge on Palmers Rock about 200 metres from Salthill shore. They took him on board their fishing boat and brought him back to Galway Docks. Galway Lifeboat in the meantime was stood down.
The man was taken into the Lifeboat station where he received treatment for symptoms of hypothermia until an ambulance arrived.
Assurances given on progress of road, bridge and bus projects
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – It will take time and a lot of money, but the city’s network of major transport projects will proceed on schedule – that was the assurance given this week to councillors by City Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath.
Councillors had expressed concerns at their meeting on Monday about the slow rate of progress being made with major capital projects including two new pedestrian bridges over the River Corrib.
However, Brendan McGrath told the meeting that the timelines for the range of capital transport projects – while challenging – were reasonable, pragmatic and achievable.
“All of the projects are moving forward but we must adhere to all the procedures and the different stages that have to be complied with: we have no choice in that,” said Brendan McGrath.
Senior City Council Engineer, Uinsinn Finn, in reply to a number of queries about potential new bus routes, said that while the Council worked closely with Bus Éireann and the bus companies, the local authority didn’t decide on the routes.
Earlier in the meeting, Cllr Peter Keane (FF), asked ‘how it could take 63 months’ to deliver a pedestrian/cycle bridge over the Corrib even though the piers (old Corrib Railway Line) were already in place for the project.
“How can it take over five years to put a bridge like this over the Corrib,” he asked, after hearing that this €11 million Greenways-linked project would not be completed until 2026.
There is a snappier timescale for the Salmon Weir Pedestrian/Cycle Bridge – to be located adjacent to the existing structure on the southern side – with planning consent expected by next Summer and a completion date set for the end of 2022.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.