HSE

  • The cervical cancer steering committee will meet later this morning, after a week of controversy which has dogged the national screening programme.

    Patient representatives will get an opportunity to question health officials over why 800 women experienced delays in getting their HPV virus test results.

    This latest Cervical Check problem arose exactly one week ago, when it emerged around 800 women who underwent screening were not issued with their results due to a so-called IT issue with the Quest lab in the U.S.

    That figure has now been revised upwards to 856 women.

    52 women had a changed result after their re-test, and tested positive for the HPV virus.

    26 of those have been referred on for colposcopies.

    The HSE says the clinical risk to their health is low and is trying to contact the GPs of the other 26 women.

    This morning the cervical cancer steering committee will meet.

    It's made up of health officials, senior civil servants and patient advocates Stephen Teap and Lorraine Walsh, the founders of a support group for women affected by Cervical Check issues.

    Questions around whether all 52 women have been notified of their results, if they've all been referred for appropriate follow-up, whether the other 800 women affected have been told, why it took the HSE so long to tell the Department of Health, and how can public confidence be restored in Cervical Check will dominate.

  • Almost six and a half thousand older people across the country are currently on a waiting list for home care support from the HSE.

    The biggest waiting list in the CHO2, which comprises Mayo, Galway and Roscommon with 1,482 people waiting for home support hours.

    The figures, obtained by Fianna Fail, show that between January and March, the HSE missed its target of home support hours by around 40,000 hours - or almost 10%.

    Mayo Fianna Fail TD Lisa Chambers is asking why those targets are being missed- particularly in the Western counties, where older people are waiting for basic supports in order to continue living at home.

  • Health services are to be severely disrupted this Thursday as ten thousand health support staff are set to take strike action.

    A variety of support-staff grades, including chefs, porters and healthcare assistants, are involved in a pay dispute with the HSE.

    The industrial action will hit patients in 38 hospitals and health facilities around the country.

    Talks aimed at resolving the row ended without agreement at the Workplace Relations Commission last night. Siptu's Paul Bell says the strike is now a certainty.

    The HSE will today commence contingency preparations the 24-hour strike.

     

  • 10,000 health workers will go on strike on Wednesday if further talks on Monday aren't successful.

    Support-staff at various grades are involved in a row over pay and a jobs evaluation scheme with the HSE.

    Talks took place between both sides at the Workplace Relations Commission over the last two days.

    After some progress, it was announced that Tuesday's strike was called off.

     Siptu's Paul Bell says as things stand, a 24-hour stoppage will go ahead at 38 hospitals and health facilities on Wednesday.

  • There are currently 18 vacant hospital consultants posts at Galway University Hospitals, while across the country, new figures show almost 350 hospital consultant posts are vacant.

    The HSE figures in today's Irish Times show there are now more than 1 in 10 hospital consultants posts vacant across the health service.

     

     

  • The number of senior managers in the HSE has increased by 80pc in just six years, according to new figures released to Fianna Fáil.

    There are 1,329 staff members employed at Grade VIII or above, compared with 744 in 2012.

    The salary scale for a Grade VIII clerical worker begins at around €48,000.

    The deputy leader of Fianna Fáil Dara Calleary told Midwest News today that the recruitment crisis in front line staff clearly does not extend to management.

    He said the increase in managers had not led to improvements in service provision in the past six years.

    Last week the deputy highlighted that waiting list inpatient appointments nationally now stand close to one million .

     

  • A two day strike by ambulance personnel members of the Psychiatric Nurses Association gets underway this morning.

    500 members will take part in the industrial action between 7am and 5pm today and tomorrow, in their ongoing row with the HSE over union recognition.

    It follows two previous strike dates on January 22nd and February 15th.

  •  Almost 5 million euro has been spent on ambulances to Mayo University Hospital over the past seven years, and according to Erris based Sinn Fein Senator Rose Conway Walsh it’s too high a price to pay when the service is not under HSE control.

    The senator says the spending €4.8 million on private ambulances since 2011 does not constitute value for money and the money should instead have been spent purchasing and staffing new ambulances.

     She claims that the ambulance services in the HSE have suffered from years of cuts, under investment, and privatisation of ambulance services with over €31 million being spent on private ambulances by the HSE nationally since 2011.

    Mayo University Hospital and the State, she believes, need to ensure that we have a high quality, publicly owned stock of ambulances instead of putting money into the pockets of private companies which does not constitute fiscal prudence.

  • The Alzheimer’s Day Care Centre in Castlebar will remain a five day per week service and the transport service from other parts of the county to the centre will be retained.

    That has been confirmed this evening by the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland to Mayo Fianna Fail Deputy Dara Calleary this evening.

    Funding shortfalls meant that there was a proposal to reduce the centre to a three day per week service and cut the transport services to it.

    However following negotiations between the HSE and the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland, that threat has been lifted.

  • Ambulance members of the Psychiatric Nurses Association are holding the first of a series of 24 hour strikes today.

    There have been six previous 10 hour strikes, as part of a long running campaign over trade union representation rights.

    The ambulance branch of the PNA, the National Ambulance Service Representative Association, is not recognised by the HSE.

  • It's expected an announcement will be made today on the future of the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea.

    The unit accommodates mostly elderly patients with Alzheimers and dementia, and there have been fears for some time that the HSE may close the facility, as there have been no new admissions since September 2016.

    A senior HSE official said last year that the Rosalie unit would close and alternative care would be provided for the patients, but a strong campaign has been underway in Castlerea to keep the unit open, for the current residents and to provide care into the future.

    Independent assessments have been carried out recently on the residents, and Midwest News understands that senior management are visiting the unit this morning to announce its future.

  • Around 6 thousand women who had smear tests carried out by CervicalCheck are to be re-tested after a problem with one of its labs.

    According to the Irish Independent, the lab developed an issue with its HPV screening which could lead to a risk of abnormalities being missed.

    Meanwhile, the Dail heard yesterday that waiting times for cervical smear tests were at crisis levels.

  • Drug company Biogen has called on the HSE to look again at the proposed pricing for the only available treatment for the rare but fatal muscle-wasting disease spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).That’s according to today’s Irish Times.

    It comes after the HSE informed patients and the company at the end of last week it would not sanction use of the drug on grounds of price.

    The HSE said it would cost about €600,000 in the first year to treat each of the 25 Irish children suffering with the disease and €380,000 a year thereafter “with an estimated budget impact in excess of €20 million over a five-year period”.

    Two Mayo families were devastated with this news as 9 year old Grace O’Malley of Roundfort and 6 year old Cillian Mearns of Kilmaine both suffer from SMA.

    The drug, Spinraza, is approved in 25 countries around Europe and Ireland becomes just the third country to reject the drug on price grounds. Estonia and the UK are the other two, although the NHS in Scotland has agreed to fund the drug for patients there.

    The HSE said in a statement that a report from its drugs group noted “the limitations of the current evidence on clinical effectiveness, and the high price being charged by the pharmaceutical company.”

    While it was “anxious to provide all possible support to this very vulnerable group of patients and those who care for them... reimbursement could not be approved at the price currently being charged”.

    Biogen said that in terms of efficacy, the effectiveness of the drug had been supported by a randomised clinical trial with strong results.

    The news comes as a blow to families that have actively lobbied for the drug’s funding since it was approved by the European Medicines Agency in May 2017.

    SMA Ireland, which lobbies on behalf of patients with the disease, said in a Facebook post that the HSE had “denied access for Irish people with SMA to the only available treatment for their condition”.

    It said the drug-approval process had reached an unjust conclusion, one “that amounts to a death sentence” for the patients affected.

    SMA Ireland is planning a protest at Dáil Éireann on Thursday.

  • The boil water notice on the Lough Talt public water supply has been  extended until further notice while the HSE continues to investigate illness in the community. That’s according to a statement today from Irish Water.

    The utility company says that working in partnership with Sligo County Council, it is advising customers supplied by the Lough Talt public water supply, that the boil water notice issued on the supply last February has been extended until further notice following a meeting with the HSE.


    The notice was issued due to detections of cryptosporidium in the water at the water treatment plant following routine compliance sampling. To date there have been 20 weeks of clear sampling on the scheme, however the HSE are investigating the cause of a number of cases of cryptosporidiosis in the water supply area during the period the Boil Water Notice has been in place.

    The HSE have indicated that the criteria for lifting this notice are zero detections of cryptosporidium in the water at the treatment plant together with a coinciding period of no reported illnesses in the community in the absence of a validated crypto barrier at the treatment plant.

    The next consultation to review this boil water notice between Irish Water, Sligo County Council and the HSE is scheduled for mid-September. In the meantime customers are urged to continue boiling water before consumption.

    Areas affected by the Boil Water Notice include the towns of Tubbercurry and Ballymote and a large rural hinterland including the villages of Annagh, Aclare, Bunnanaddan, Curry, Lavagh, Ballanacarrow, Carroweden, Kilmacteige, Quarryfield and Coolaney.

    This boil notice also includes customers supplied by the Ogham Group Water Scheme (GWS) in Co Sligo and the following areas in Co Mayo: Cloontia, Doocastle, and the Moylough GWS.

    Over 435 customers in Bellaghy are receiving clean, secure water from the Charlestown supply and no longer need to boil water before consumption

    Householders are reminded to continue to boil water before consumption including the washing of teeth, making of ice and in the preparation of food that is not cooked. It is imperative that people adhere to the boil water notice. 

     

  • Solicitor David O'Malley joined us on the Tommy Marren Show recently to discuss the issue of candour and how the HSE is failing grieving families with legitimate claims through long drawn out legal proceedings. Listen back to this interesting and important discussion now.

     

     

  • The CEO of the Saolta Hospital Group is seeking a High Court order aimed at preventing the health service executive removing him from his role.

    Maurice Power, CEO of the Saolta group which runs public hospitals in Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo & Donegal has brought proceedings against the HSE.

    Mr Power, of Homefarm, Moycullen, Co Galway has been the group's CEO since October 2014, allegedly on an interim basis, having previously held several other positions within the public health service.

    He's seeking various orders, including an injunction preventing the HSE from terminating his employment as the group's CEO.

    The Irish Times reports that the action opened before Mr Justice Senan Allen yesterday.

    Mr Power claims he's entitled to a contract of indefinite duration in respect of his role, and says the HSE has acted wrongfully and in breach of his contract of employment.

    The action arose after the HSE started the process of recruiting a CEO for the Saolta Hospital Group, which has more than 10,000 staff and an annual budget of over €850 million.

    Maurice Power applied for the job and was called to a preliminary interview, but not to the second round of interviews.

    He has appealed the decision not to include him in the second round, and has also lodged a claim with the Workplace Relations Commission, claiming he was wrongfully forced to apply for his own role.

    The HSE denies the claims and is opposing the application for an injunction.

    The HSE argues that Mr Power does not have a contract of indefinite duration for the position of group CEO, and says his employment has not been terminated as he will return to the role he previously held as Chief Financial Officer.

    The hearing continues.

     

  • A change in the contracts of HSE Carers will mean different carers calling every day to elderly clients.

    That's according to Castlebar-based Independent Councillor Michael Kilcoyne, who's concerned that there will be no consistency in the service, and that elderly people will be concerned about a number of different people calling to their homes to provide care.

    He's also concerned about security, as a number of carers may have keys to a client's home.

    Councillor Kilcoyne says he has been contacted by anxious families in relation to the change in carer's contracts, and will raise the matter at the next meeting of the HSE Regional Forum.

    Midwest News has also contacted the HSE for clarification in relation to this issue, and we're currently awaiting a response.

  • It’s disappointing to discover that the HSE run nursing home Aras Mhuire in Tuam has had its registration lapsed. That’s according to local Fianna Fail Councillor Donnagh Killilea. The Councillor says however, that HSE management has assured him that the re-registration process is now underway.

    At a recent HSE West Forum meeting, Cllr Killilea, a member of the forum sought information on the new residential facility on the site beside the Primary Care Centre in the town, asking if a design team has been put in place for the development.

  • The HSE says the Department of Health has not yet ruled out the building of a new hospital for Galway at the present overcrowded University Hospital Galway site in the city centre, despite a 150 acre site available at Merlin Park Hospital for the development.

    That position was confirmed by HSE West Management to Galway based Fine Gael councillor Padraig Conneely at a recent HSE West forum meeting.

    The councillor says he cannot believe that the deparment is even considering the city centre site for the new development, but HSE executive explained that all option continue to be explored.

  • There were seven ambulances with patients lined up outside Mayo University Hospital in Castlebar last night, as ambulance staff awaited the admittance of their patients to the Emergency Dept of the hospital.

    That’s according to Castlebar Independent councillor Michael Kilcoyne.

     Cllr Kilcoyne told Midwest News today that it’s ironic that the Minister for Climate Action is in Castlebar today, as seven ambulances were forced to keep their vehicles running last night to keep sick patients warm and cared for as they awaited entry to the hospital.

    He says the need for an expansion of the Emergency Dept at MUH has long been both debated and promised by government, and yet sick people in this region are forced to put up with these services.