Official complaints made about the Emergency Department of University Hospital Galway (UHG) have more than doubled in a year, new figures reveal.
The ED at UHG is consistently cited as one of the worst in the country and figures released to this newspaper under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act confirm it is attracting more and more complaints.
The vast majority of the complaints received by Saolta University Health Care Group are from patients and their families but in some instances staff of ED have also formally complained, the records show.
The West’s largest and busiest ED, described by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, as ‘not fit for purpose’, had 77 complaints lodged against it last year.
The previous year just 34 complaints were lodged, the FOI figures confirm.
This means that the total number of complaints about the Emergency Department have increased by 175% in twelve months.
Saolta refused to release details and written copies of the complaints with names redacted. The letters of complaint were held by the hospital, “on the understanding that they would be treated as confidential,” the group said.
However, Saolta did release broad categories for which the complaints were being made.
In many instances, those complaining made complaints about several aspects of their experience in the Emergency Department, and not just single issues.
The records show that there were complaints about safe and effective treatment and care and diagnosis, and continuity of care. There were many complaints about privacy, access accessibility and resources “improving health” and dignity and respect.
There were also many complaints about accountability, finance and disputes over the bill for visiting ED.
Another complaint related to “catering”, one had to do with “hygiene” and “infection control policies”; while another related to “hospital room facilities”.
A couple of complaints were made in relation to “overcrowding” in the ED.
One complainant’s complaint related to “cultural beliefs and values”.
Others related to “failure to diagnose” while there was one complaint that related to “alleged inappropriate behaviour” and “inappropriate comments from staff member”.
One staff complaint related to “bed management” and another staff complaint related to “human resources, staff availability and overcrowding”.
Complaints can be made to the Complaints Officer, Galway University Hospitals, Newcastle Road, Galway.
Gardaí bid to identify body recovered near Mutton Island
Gardai have launched an investigation following the discovery of a body in Galway Bay yesterday afternoon.
A member of the public raised the alarm after spotting the body in the water while walking on the causeway to Mutton Island.
Galway Fire Service, Gardai and the RNLI attended the scene and recovered the body at around 4pm, before it was taken to University Hospital Galway for a post mortem.
It is understood that the body may have been in the water for some time.
Gardaí are currently examining a list of missing people in the city.
Gardaí investigate fatal Carraroe crash
A man in his 30s has died following a road crash in Carraroe in the early hours of this morning.
At 3.50am, Gardaí and emergency services attended at a single car collision on a minor road.
The driver of the car, a man in his 30s, was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later. A passenger in the car, a male in his 30s, was taken by ambulance to Galway University Hospital. His injuries are not thought to be life threatening.
The road is currently closed and local diversions are in place. Garda forensic collision investigators will examine the crash site this morning.
Land Development Agency rules out Merlin ‘land grab’
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Campaigners have warned the Land Development Agency (LDA) to keep its hands off Merlin Woods.
Local community group Friends of Merlin Woods said that the amenity on the east side of the city is not suitable for residential development.
It has sought clarification on whether the LDA has earmarked part of the recreational and amenity lands for housing, after it appeared on its online database of publicly-owned lands.
In a statement to the Galway City Tribune, the LDA said its database compiles a list of all State lands, not just land for development.
In relation to Merlin Woods, the LDA said: “Those lands aren’t included in the LDA developments in Galway. The lands database is a map-based tool which compiles all State lands and has no reflection on development potential.”
It came after Caroline Stanley of Friends of Merlin Woods raised concern that land within Merlin Woods had been earmarked for development.
“I’d be concerned that it’s marked as residential when it’s in RA (Recreational and Amenity) land. Some is marked ‘open space’ but some is marked as ‘new proposed residential’ on its [LDA’s] database. It makes us wonder why. We’d like clarity and to clear it up.
“The message we’d like to get out there is we need clarification, whether it’s a mistake on the Land Development Agency’s part, or whether it is an area that they consider as a residential area, which the community would be opposed to. We need clarity. It could be something that is in line for development later on, we don’t know, and we need clarity.”
Councillor Owen Hanley explained that the fears around Merlin Woods stem from legislation currently making its way through the Oireachtas that would strip councillors of powers to veto the transfer of land to the LDA for housing projects.
The Bill would also allow Government to direct what public lands – including those owned by local authorities – can be transferred to the LDA for development of social and affordable housing.
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.