A lecturer who initially refused to fill out NUI Galway’s pre-employment health assessment questionnaire because she felt it was “invasive” was told that a job offered to her was contingent on the form being completed.
The young woman, who has asked not to be named, also says that she was required to fill out the controversial questionnaire in addition to taking a medical check-up, which included a breast exam. She has questioned the confidentiality of the forms, and says that the questionnaire was returned to Human Resources and not to the occupational health physician.
She contacted this newspaper about her experience after the Galway City Tribune revealed last week that there was unease among staff about NUI Galway’s health screening of prospective employees.
A different, senior lecturer at the college complained that the occupational health questionnaire for prospective employees was “invasive”, “misogynist” and “excessively personal”.
Among the questions asked are: “Do you suffer with any problems with your menstrual periods? Do you suffer any breast problems? Have you ever been treated for gynaecological problems?”
NUI Galway’s assertion that the questionnaire “replaces the need for a face-to-face questionnaire” and that it “is a confidential process between doctor and patient” has been challenged by a female lecturer.
She was required to complete the form after taking up temporary employment in 2013.
“It did not replace a face-to-face medical consultation as I was also asked to undergo such a consultation as part of the employment process,” she said.
The lecturer added: “It was also made clear that I was required to both complete the form and undergo a medical check up, which was quite lengthy. I do not have any medical issue which would require me to undergo a medical exam to declare me fit for employment.
“I initially refused to complete the questionnaire as I felt it was unnecessarily detailed, invasive and misogynistic. I have had to fill in various medical forms as part of the recruitment and employment process at other Irish academic institutions as well as for other employers.”
For more on this story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune
Pedestrian seriously injured in Furbo hit and run
A man in his 40s is in a serious condition in hospital following a hit and run in Furbo last night.
He was a pedestrian who was walking on the R336 road near Furbo Church, when he was hit by a car around 8.30pm.
The driver of the car failed to remain at the scene.
The road is currently closed with diversions in place while Garda Forensic Collision Investigators conduct an examination of the scene.
Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to the collision to come forward, particularly any road users who may have dash-cam footage recorded in the area between 8pm and 9pm.
Drug use in Galway at ‘frightening levels’ says top Garda
Use of illegal drugs has reached ‘fairly frightening’ levels across the city and county, according to Galway’s top Garda.
Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that only about 10% of the drugs in circulation in society are detected by Gardaí.
He said that there had been increases in detection of drugs for sale or supply and for simple possession in the city and county so far this year.
Cocaine in particular was an issue in Galway, he said, but increased drug use was evident in “every village and town in the country”.
In his report to the latest Galway City Joint Policing Committee, Chief Supt Curley said that there had been a 22% increase in detection of drugs for sale or supply in Galway, up 14 to 78 at the end of September.
There had been 108 incidents of drugs for simple possession, up by 15%.
The amount of cocaine seized in the first nine months of the year amounted to €538,838. The level of cannabis seized amounted to €361,872.
Ecstasy (€640) and heroin (€2,410) were also seized, according to the Garda report.
Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) said it was a concern that cocaine had overtaken cannabis for the first time, in terms of the street value of the amounts seized.
Councillor Eddie Hoare (FG) said that the Garda Drugs Unit needed to be commended for the seizures.
Councillor Alan Cheevers (FF) said it was concerning that use of cocaine had escalated.
In response to Chair of the JPC, Councillor Niall McNelis (Lab), Chief Supt Curley said there were some instances where parents or siblings were being pursued by criminals over drug debts accrued by family members.
He added he would continue to allocate resources to the drugs problem.
Up to 20-week waiting period for youth mental health service in Galway
Young people in Galway have highest waiting times in the state for an appointment with the Jigsaw youth mental health service.
That’s according to Galway West TD Mairéad Farrell who revealed that waiting times for an appointment here are currently up to 20 weeks.
“Figures released through a Parliamentary Question have shown there are significant wait times for counselling appointments with Jigsaw, the mental health service which provides vital supports to young people, in Galway,” she said.
“Demand for the Jigsaw service in Galway and across the State continues to grow, however, as a result youths are waiting up to 20 weeks to get an appointment. With young people from Galway currently experiencing the longest wait times at 20 weeks.
“Every expert in child and adolescent mental health will tell you that early intervention is absolutely vital in avoiding enduring and worsening problems in the future.
“Yet, these figures reveal that if a child or young person seeks out care they are in all likelihood going to be faced with extended waiting periods which are simply unacceptable and put them and their mental health at a very serious risk,” she added.
Deputy Farrell said that young peoples’ mental health had been adversely affected during the pandemic – with loss of schooling, sports, peer supports and even their ability to socialise with friends impacting.
“Jigsaw have experienced a 42% increase in the demand for their services and this cry for help from our young people cannot fall on deaf ears,” she said.
“There is also an element of postcode politics, that depending on where you live you may get treated quicker. Some areas have a three-week waiting time while others are left waiting for 20 weeks.
“Uniformed mental health treatment is needed – so our young people can access the care they need, when they need it and where they need it.
“I have called on the Minister to urgently engage with the service to provide a solution,” she concluded.