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Waiting times slashed for bowel cancer tests at UCH



Date Published: 15-Sep-2009

University Hospital Galway has cut its average waiting list for a colonoscopy or bowel cancer test by 40% since April, according to figures released by the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF).
In a rare success story for the health service, the Irish Cancer Society has praised the effort by the hospital in reducing the numbers waiting for the crucial test since last November from 263 to 105 in April. It was further slashed to 59 by the end of August.
Of these on the list, the vast majority (52 patients) are waiting between three and six months. Another six are waiting between six months and a year, while there is one patient who is waiting for 12 months or more.
“In terms of volume, Galway is also one of the hospitals that perform the highest number of these tests in the country, so it’s a real achievement to cut the numbers so dramatically,” said spokesperson for the Irish Cancer Society, Lorna Jennings.
“It shows something can be done if attention is drawn to it. Since we shone the light of day on this last November they have been able to sort it out and this is a real time-sensitive tests so it’s very important to reduce waiting lists.”
A spokesperson for the HSE West stated: “A number of initiatives have been put in place over the last few months at Galway University Hospitals in order to reduce our colonoscopy waiting times; these initiatives include additional sessions at GUH and also referring patients to the National Treatment Purchase Fund. GUH are committed to continuing to work towards further reducing waiting times to meet the new standards.”
Nationally, the data provided by the hospitals to the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF), which manages public hospital waiting lists, shows that the numbers of patients waiting for a colonoscopy has increased to 722 from 652 in April. The vast majority (more than 600) are waiting between three and six months. There was also a worrying increase of more that 30%, or 130 people, who are waiting from three to six months for this vital test.
A colonoscopy is the most effective procedure for diagnosing bowel cancer. In her approval of the HSE National Service Plan 2009, the Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney stated that patients should have this crucial cancer test within four weeks of seeing their GP.
The Irish Cancer Society said it remains concerned at the length of time many patients have to wait to undergo the procedure.
Kathleen O’Meara, head of advocacy and communications at the Irish Cancer Society said while the organisation welcomed this improvement in those waiting more than six months, it is disappointed to see the total number of people waiting has increased by 10% since April 2009.
“This means that 70 more patients are now waiting for colonoscopies than there were in April. We need a national screening programme to ensure more people are diagnosed earlier.”
Minister Harney has requested the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) to report to her this month on the most cost-effective way to deliver a national bowel cancer screening programme.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past



A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.

Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.

She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.

Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.

Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.

When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.

Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.

And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.

All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.

“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”

That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.


For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here

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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup



Date Published: 29-Jan-2013

Athenry FC 1

Kilbarrack United 2

(After extra time)

For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.

On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.

An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.

However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.

They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.

With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.

Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.

Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.

Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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