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Report reveals shortcomings at Merlin Park’s facility for elderly



Staff shortages, the non-recording of patients’ complaints and inadequate fire precautions are among the concerns highlighted at a Galway hospital following an inspection of a residential unit for elderly people.

The HIQA (Health Information and Quality Authority) inspection report into Unit 5 and 6 at Merlin Park Hospital found several instances in which the hospital was failing to meet the regulations required of it. The units, which were home to 39 residents, including 16 maximum dependency and eleven high dependency, found that staff shortages were impacting on the residents. It is run by the Health Service Executive.

“Staffing levels at times were not sufficient to meet the needs of all residents,” the report said.

The HSE has taken a number of measures to comply with the regulations and rectify its failings since.

HIQA said: “The inspector observed that staffing levels at times during the inspection were not sufficient to meet the needs of all residents. The inspector found that some residents who required assistance with their meals did not have the required timely level of support. As a result, the inspector noted that some residents were left waiting with their meals in front of them while staff attended to other residents.”

HIQA recommended that the HSE “ensure that the numbers and skill mix of staff are appropriate to the assessed needs of residents, and the size and layout of the designated centre.”

In response, the HSE said the two units carried out an immediate review of the staff roster to address the staffing shortfall, particularly at mealtimes. It said since the inspection, “staff are rostered for a longer shift to assist the residents at mealtimes”.

The Haddington Road agreement, the HSE said, has also improved staffing levels; and the numbers of residents at the units has fallen since the inspection, thereby improving the staff to resident ratio.

The report noted that, “aspects of falls management and behaviour that challenges did not ensure that all residents’ needs were adequately met. The policy on behaviour that challenges had not been implemented. Residents with communication and other sensory difficulties did not have sufficient opportunity for meaningful activities.”

In response the HSE said it had taken a number of steps to address these concerns. “The staffing mix is monitored on a daily basis to maintain the assessed needs of the residents, it said, adding, “a mid afternoon review of the mornings’ activities has been introduced and any relevant issues are noted and care plans updated.”

The HIQA inspection, which was unannounced and took place over two days in May, found that there was “no complaints policy” and the complaints procedure had not been properly displayed.  “All complaints were not being documented and the satisfaction level of the complainant with the outcome of the investigation had not been consistently recorded,” it said.

The HSE said since the inspection it is now maintaining a record of all complaints, detailing the complaint investigation, the outcome of the complaint and whether or not the resident was satisfied. It also reiterated the importance of the complaints’ procedures to staff.

The inspection also noted a threat to health and safety. “The inspector identified a failing in one aspect of fire safety that placed residents at potential risk of harm in the event of a fire. The inspector noted gaps between some fire doors which could impact on their effectiveness. This risk was brought to the attention of the provider,” it said.

The fire hazard has since been rectified, the HSE said. 

Connacht Tribune

Boil water notice issued for Barna area



A boil water notice has been issued for the Barna area for health protection purposes

The areas affected are Barna Village, Truskey West and Truskey East, Barr Aille, Fermoyle, Ballard and along the Connemara Coast Road as far as Furbo, and on the Barna/Galway Road as far as Silverstrand.

The notice has been put in place due to issues with disinfection of the water at Tonabruckey Reservoir.

The notice affects approximately 2,300 people supplied by the Barna section of the Galway City West Public Water Supply area.

Customers in the area served by Tonabrucky Reservoir will notice increased levels of chlorine in their water supply in the coming days as we work to resolve the issue.

Vulnerable customers who have registered with Irish Water will receive direct communication on this Boil Water Notice.

Irish water, the City Council and the HSE will monitor the supply and will lift the notice when it is safe to do so.

In line with HSE Covid-19 advice and the requirement for frequent hand washing, Irish Water advises that the water remains suitable for this purpose and boiling the water is not required.

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Councillors back bid to ban city centre parking in Galway



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors have unanimously agreed to ask Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to limit parking to residents only in the city centre.

Pedestrians in the city are being treated like second-class citizens, according to the Mayor, who said cars continued to get the priority on Galway’s streets.

At a meeting of the City Council this week, Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) said the city had come to a standstill in car traffic, and pedestrians and cyclists were suffering the consequences.

“At junctions, why am I a second-class citizen in my own city as a pedestrian? It rains in Galway for 300 days of the year, but I am a second-class citizen when priority is given to motorists.

“It’s always the pedestrian that waits,” she said, hitting out at the length it took to get a green light to cross at pedestrian crossings.

One way to reduce the number of cars in the city centre would be to limit parking to residents only in the city centre, said the Mayor.

In a motion she proposed, seconded by Cllr Mike Cubbard (Ind), councillors unanimously agreed to write to the Minister for Transport to demand he pass the necessary legislation to enable the Council to do this.

The Mayor said residents were “sick, sore and tired” of people parking where they wanted when they visited the city and said despite a desire to introduce this measure going back almost 20 years, the Council was hamstrung by national legislation that prevented them from proceeding.

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.

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Planners approve homes for ‘cuckoo fund’ investor



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The green light has been given for the construction of 345 apartments at the Crown Square site in Mervue – the majority of which will be put on the rental market and operated by a ‘cuckoo fund’ for a minimum of fifteen years.

Crown Square Developments, which is owned by developer Padraic Rhatigan, has secured permission from An Bord Pleanála for the ‘Build to Rent’ development, with four blocks ranging ranging from four to nine storeys in height.

There will also be a neighbourhood facility with a gym, a primary care medical centre with pharmacy, a ‘working from home’ lounge, six shops, a games room and a creche.

There will be 240 two-bed apartments, 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds, all of which will be specifically for the rental market and not available to purchase.

A breakdown of the apartments shows there will be 240 two-beds; 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds.

To meet social housing requirements, the developer plans to transfer 35 of the apartments (20 two-bed, 10 one-bed and 5 three-bed) to Galway City Council.

A total of 138 car-parking spaces have been allocated on the lower basement levels of Crown Square for residents, along with shared access to another 109 spaces and another 13 for use by a ‘car club’. There will be 796 secure bicycle parking spaces to serve the apartments.

The Board has ordered that the apartments can only be used as long-term rentals, and none can be used for short-term lettings.

Under ‘Build to Rent’ guidelines, the development must be owned and operated by an institutional entity for a minimum period of 15 years and “where no individual residential units shall be sold separately for that period”. The 15-year period starts from the date of occupation of the first residential unit.

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.


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