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Connacht Tribune

TD says minor injuries unit would curtail A&E delays

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Overcrowding and hours of delays facing people seeking treatment at the Emergency Department in UHG are the result of effective discrimination against the people of Galway.

That’s the claim this week from Independent TD Noel Grealish, who said that Galway was the only city in the country without a dedicated unit to treat minor injuries — where people can be seen, treated and discharged within a single hour.

“Meanwhile, we have more than 62,000 sick or injured people a year crowding into the only option open to them, the Emergency Department at UHG,” he said.

“Figures released to me by the HSE show that patients with a minor injury faced a wait of five hours and 35 minutes on average from registration to discharge in first four months of this year — and many thousands have to wait many more hours than that,” he added.

The Galway West TD pointed out that there were eleven minor injury units dotted around the country, including one each in the cities of Dublin, Limerick and Cork — with another two of them in Cork County.

“It makes perfect sense that Galway should also have such a unit, which treat broken bones, dislocations, sprains, strains, wounds, scalds and minor burns that are unlikely to need admission to hospital.

“We have the perfect location in Merlin Park Hospital and it would not take an huge amount of money or time to set up.

“The difference it would make to the Emergency Department at UHG would be enormous . . . I recently visited the injury unit in Roscommon, where it’s taking an average of just 55 minutes from the time a patient comes in the door until they leave, having been treated,” he said.

Deputy Grealish said that even if a planned new emergency department for the Galway hospital was completed on schedule by 2023, that still meant several years of putting up with the present situation.

“In reality it will probably be several years more before that new department is built, and there has been a lot of talk recently also about building a whole new hospital in Merlin Park, but that’s way, way into the future too.

“We’ve had confirmation from the INMO that, between January and the end of June, there were 3,800 patients on trolleys or chairs at UHG, up nine per cent on the same period last year . . . these numbers are constantly increasing and I fear that come the winter we will have a real crisis on our hands,” he added.

He said that UHG fell well below the national average in the time it takes for people to be seen and discharged or admitted. “Last year, more than 15,000 people spent more than nine hours in the Emergency Department, and almost 3,500 of them were there more than 24 hours.

“That just can’t go on. We need a minor injuries unit, based in Merlin Park, to handle the smaller complaints — after all, more than two-thirds of those who go to the A&E are subsequently discharged and go home. Even the Taoiseach has agreed with me that it’s a good idea, but he hasn’t done anything about it.

“You could say Galway is being discriminated against in this regard as it’s the only city without one, when such a unit could make a huge contribution to reducing the overcrowding problems at UHG,” added Deputy Grealish.

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Connacht Tribune

Boil water notice issued for Barna area

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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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Connacht Tribune

Violent incident in Tuam leaves seven hospitalised

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Gardaí are investigating after an incident in Tuam yesterday left seven people injured.

A violent altercation broke out between a large group at the cemetery in Tuam at about 4pm yesterday.

Around 30 Gardaí responded to the incident at the cemetery on the Athenry Road in Tuam, which broke out following two funerals in the area.

Gardaí supported by members from the wider North Western Region and the Regional Armed Support Unit had to physically intervene between parties and disperse those present.

Five males and two females were injured during the course of the incident and were taken to University Hospital Galway with non-life threatening injuries.

A 16-year-old boy was arrested at the scene, as he tried to flee in possession of a knife.

He was taken to Tuam Garda Station and has since been released. A file is being prepared for the Juvenile Liaison Officer.

Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to this incident or for anyone with any information to contact Tuam Garda Station .

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Connacht Tribune

Anger over ANC ‘snip’

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Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue

ANGRY farmers hit out during last week’s Galway IFA at the Dept. of Agriculture over what they described as their ‘heavy handed tactics’ in docking BEAM penalties from ANC payments made last week.

Although Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, has apologised for the actions taken by his Department officials, delegates who attended last Thursday’s night county IFA meeting in the Claregalway Hotel, hit out at what happened.

In some cases, according to Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, farmers who had already paid back the BEAM penalty also had the money deducted from their ANC (Areas of Natural Constraint) payments made last week.

Many farmers received ‘a shock in the post’ when their ANC payments were hit with the deductions of penalties from the BEAM scheme – earlier they had been warned of interest penalties if any balances weren’t repaid within 30 days.

At the core of the problem was the inclusion of a 5% stock numbers reduction in the BEAM scheme (Beef Exceptional Aid Measure) aimed at helping to compensate farmers for a drop-off in beef prices between September, 2018 and May, 2019.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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