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Varadkar: ‘Knock down UHG Emergency Department’

Francis Farragher

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Health Minister Leo Varadkar has put in on the Dáil record that the solution to the overcrowding problem at the Emergency Dept. of University Hospital Galway is ‘a rebuild’.

Minister Varadkar, in reply to a question from city Labour TD Derek Nolan, said that recent steps put in place to ease the overcrowding at UHG were only ‘stop-gap measures’.

“It is a very old Emergency Department and the medium to long-term solution will have to be a rebuild so that it is fit for the purpose we would all intend,” said the Minister.

He said that in relation to the recruitment of general and paediatric nurses, a panel of 21 experienced staff had been created – 11 of them have been approved to start work in the Emergency Dept. over the coming weeks.

He also said that UHG had appointed a Patient Advice and Liaison Officer in the Emergency Dept. tasked with addressing the needs of patients and to ‘improve’ their experience as they wait for access to services.

“It is becoming evident from the data that the rising number of patients over the age of 75 years who are attending and requiring admission is rising.

“But as Deputy Nolan points out, any of those measures around patient flow, greater use of community beds and so on, will only be stop-gap measures,” said the Minister.

Deputy Nolan said that it was now completely obvious that he existing Emergency Department did not allow effective patient streaming and was not compliant with infection prevention and control standards.

He added that furthermore, the Emergency Dept. – as it stands – did not enable compliance with the emergency medicine programme or targets for unscheduled care patients’ experience.

“In effect, regardless of what is done in terms of the special delivery unit, increased bed management and re-routing services out of the emergency department, the physical infrastructure is not fit for purpose,” said Deputy Nolan.

CITY TRIBUNE

€46,000 Lotto winner comes forward as deadline looms

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – The Knocknacarra winner of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus from the 12th of December has come forward to claim their prize, just two weeks before the claim deadline.

The winning ticket, which is worth €46,234, was sold at Clybaun Stores on the Clybaun Road on the day of the draw, one of two winners of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus prize of €92,000.

A spokesperson for the National Lottery say we are now making arrangements for the lucky winner to make their claim in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the Lotto jackpot for tomorrow night (27th February) will roll to an estimated €5.5 million.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Voice of ‘Big O’ reflects on four decades

Denise McNamara

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The daytime voice of Big O Taxis is celebrating four decades in the role – and she has no plans to hang up her headset any time soon.

Roisin Freeney decided to seek a job after staying at home to mind her three children for over a decade. It was 1981 when she saw an advert in the Connacht Sentinel for a dispatch operator.

The native of Derry recalls that the queue for the job wound its way past Monroe’s Tavern from the taxi office on Dominick Street.

“There was a great shortage of work back then. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the line of people. My then husband who was giving me a lift in never thought I’d get the job, he was driving on past and I said, let me off.

“I got it because I worked as a telephonist in the telephone exchange in Derry. But I was terrified starting off because I hadn’t been in the work system for so long.”

Back then Big O Taxis had only 25 drivers and just a single line for the public to book a cab.

“We had an old two-way radio, you had to speak to the driver and everybody could listen in. It was easy to leave the button pressed when it shouldn’t be pressed. People heard things they shouldn’t have – that’s for sure,” laughs Roisin.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of Róisín’s story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Baby boom puts strain on Galway City secondary schools

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A baby boom in the late 2000s has left parents of sixth class pupils in Galway City scrambling to find a secondary school place for their children next September – with over 100 children currently facing the prospect of rejection from city schools.

The Department of Education is now rushing to address the issue and confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it was fully aware of increasing pressure and demand on city schools

Local councillor Martina O’Connor said there were 100 more children more than there were secondary school places for next year, and warned that this would put severe pressure on schools to increase their intake numbers.

“This will put a lot of pressure on schools because they will have been working out the number of teachers and what resources they would need in October or November last year and they could be facing a situation where they will be asked to take an additional eight or 10 students.

“There would normally be a small excess – maybe two or three – but this year, it’s over 100. There is a bigger number of children in sixth class this year and there will be the same issue for the next few years,” said the Green Party councillor.

A Department spokesperson said while there were capacity issues, factors other than numbers could be at play, adding that there were approximately 1,245 children in the city due to move onto secondary school in September.
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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