Why a patient with TB was not immediately isolated on admission to Galway University Hospital earlier this year, was raised in the Dail last week by Independent Galway deputy Catherine Connolly.

The deputy said it has been brought to her attention that a substantial number of staff at Galway University Hospital had contracted latent TB from the affected patient. Upon admission, she says, it would appear that the appropriate protocols were not implemented and the patient was not placed in isolation.

She had been told that even following the diagnosis of active TB it took another 24 hours before the patient was isolated. Consequently she says she is now  aware that at least 14 people have now contracted latent TB including nurses, care staff and another patient.

The situation was raised with the Minster for Health as an urgent issue last Thursday in the Dail.

Minister Harris was not available and Junior Minister, Catherine Byrne responderd. Minister Byrne, while confirming that a number of staff had been exposed to a patient with active TB at GUH, she also confirmed that she simply couldn’t answer the specific questions and could only read from the reply she had been given which utterly failed to deal with the most serious questions.

The Minister of State apologised for this lack of information and she said that she would ensure that the Minister for Health would respond to Deputy Connolly and provide full information.

Deputy Connolly told Midwest News today why she is now seeking greater clarification on what occurred and what is now being done to ensure the same situation cannot occur again.

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