A report sought by the former Minister for Health Simon Harris from the HSE last June, into the management of Covid -19 at Mayo University Hospital has not been published, despite being completed.
The Minister commissioned the report into concerns expressed by public representatives in Mayo over what appeared to be the considerably higher incidents of Covid 19 in the county compared to other Connaught counties.
However, under a Freedom of Information request by Aontu, the content of the report have now come to light.
Mayo Aontu representative, Paul lawless, who has secured the report, says it identifies numerous issues with the management of the virus in the hospital. He spoke to Midwest News today and said the report lists 'challenges at the outset' of the pandemic, including a 'lack of isolation facilities, Emergency Department risk due to overcrowding, no isolation, lack of negative pressure rooms and bed capacity'. The report also notes that the 'general infrastructure in part of the building is on the risk register'.
A further aspect of the report's findings is that the hospital and the district hospitals in Mayo were 'interdependent' and as such 'two way traffic between these sites' existed at the outset of the pandemic.
The 7-page report then identifies a number of "issues that need to be addressed going forward", including the problem of the "physical infrastructure in Ballina and Belmullet district hospitals being substandard in terms of multiple occupancy rooms, layout and space".
There was, according to the report, "an initial delay in testing (of about two weeks) which was extremely challenging for the hospital". The HSE added, within the report, that a proposal for a new fifty-bed ward block consisting of all single rooms is "being progressed as a proposal with Estates Colleagues". Finally, the report concluded by stressing that "in any future public health issue, clinical staff sharing accommodation needs to be reviewed at the outset".
Paul Lawless claimed that the report confirmed many of the stories he had been hearing from patients and staff with concerns at the hospital.
He concluded saying that he very much welcomes the recommendations of the report, specifically regarding the need for a new fifty-bed ward for MUH.
“This report should have been published immediately upon completion. It is disappointing that it wasn’t published and that I had to resort to submitting a request under the Freedom of Information Act to get my hands on it. I would urge the government to see to it that the report’s recommendations are implemented as a matter of urgency”.