• More than 40,000 people are on the waiting list for outpatient appointments at present at University Hospital Galway.

    The hospital has one of the highest outpatient waiting lists in the country.

    Nationally the number of people waiting for an outpatient appointment now exceeds 600,000.

    Almost 50,000 additional people are on the waiting lists since the start of this year, largely as a result of delays caused by the Covid 19 pandemic.

    More than 230,000 people have been waiting more than 12 months for their appointment.

  • The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation claims 2018 was the worst year on record for hospital overcrowding.

    Almost seven and a half thousand patients waited without a bed at Galway University last year, making it the third worst hospital affected nationally.

    New analysis from the INMO said in excess of 108,000 patients went without hospital beds last year - a record high.

    The figures are a 9% increase on 2017, which was itself a record high.

    This is nearly double the number in 2006 (55,720), when INMO records began.

    It blames overcrowding on low capacity and understaffing.

    The INMO said it has asked the Government to work with it to try to resolve problems with recruitment and retention in nursing.

    It says this has not happened, and that 95% of INMO nurses and midwives voted in favour of industrial action.

    The INMO executive will meet next week to set dates for strike action.

  • The Human Resource (HR) department of Galway University Hospital is not computerised and as a result the HSE West executive said it had not got the resources available, to answer a direct question submitted by Galway Fine Gael councillor Padraig Conneely to a recent HSE West Forum meeting.

    The councillor asked how many medics and nurses were on leave in UHG and Merlin Park hospitals during the festive season last year(2017), and  are scheduled to be off this Christmas (2019).

    In response to Cllr Conneely, Ann Cosgrove, Chief operating Officer for Saolta University Health Care Group said to provide the answer, all rosters for the Christmas and New Year period last year would have to be manually reviewed and she said that was not feasible.

    The councillor said in this modern age of computers he found it difficult to believe that someone could not press a computer key and get details of the number of staff on duty in any given day in both hospitals.

    However, Ms Cosgrove said HR at the hospitals is not computerised. She said she wished it was but the reality is that it is not.

    She added that the rosters for this Christmas period are still being prepared.

    Councillor Conneely  told Midwest News that he is astounded by this response.

  • University Hospital Galway is again reminding the public about visitor restrictions currently in place in a number of wards in the hospital due to suspected cases of the vomiting bug (Norovirus). In order to assist staff in curtailing the spread of this virus, management is asking that only essential visits takes place in St Mary’s ward, St Anthony’s ward and St Enda’s ward during this period.

     Children should not visit the hospital as they may be particularly susceptible to the illness.

     Visitors are requested to cooperate with hospital staff who are ensuring the restrictions are adhered to and visitors are also advised that they must use the alcohol hand gels supplied as they enter and leave the hospital. Infection control procedures are in place on the affected wards and will remain so until further notice.

     There continues to be an increase in the number of cases of Norovirus in the community and anyone with recent symptoms of diarrhoea and/or vomiting or who has had contact with others who have these symptoms should not visit patients in the hospital to avoid spreading the virus to sick vulnerable patients.

     The Emergency Department at UHG continues to be extremely busy today and management is apologising to patients experiencing delays. 


  • A Galway TD says she is hopeful that the Government’s Capital Plan, which will be announced tomorrow, will provide for a new state of the art elective hospital for Galway and the west in Merlin Park.

    Fine Gael Deputy Hildegarde Naughton told Midwest News today that she is happy with her discussions with the Minister and has every hope that a new facility will be announced tomorrow.

    Deputy Naughton says she is confident the announcement will include the building of a large elective hospital, with hundreds of beds, for Galway on the Merlin Park site.

    She says what it means in practical terms is that if you have a scheduled operation it will take place in Merlin Park and not the UHG Newcastle campus. It will also mean that day case and endoscopy procedures will, when development work is completed, take place in Merlin Park.

    Deputy Naughton says the result will be the freeing up of hundreds of beds in UHG and an elimination of trolleys for those needing emergency care.

    The Galway TD is also hopeful that a new oncology and radiation facility will be provided in Galway, along with the long awaited Emergency Department at UHG.

  • A psychiatric nurse in University Hospital Galway has been sentenced to 12 months in prison for assaulting another nurse with a syringe filled with sedating, anti- psychotic medication.

    The Irish Times is reporting that Kofi Kankam (48), 15 The Clarin, Athenry, Co Galway, denied a charge of assaulting Emer Hyland, causing her harm, at the Psychiatric Unit of UHG, on February 5th last year.

    Ms Hyland, who is in her twenties, told a hearing at Galway District Court yesterday  that gardaí came into the male ward with a patient that evening who was very unwell. She was dealing with another patient at the time who had absconded. She was sitting in the nurse’s station having just got off the phone from speaking to security about that patient when she suddenly felt a sharp pinch in her left side.

    Kankam had been standing behind her.  Another nurse was holding a kidney dish which contained two syringes, which had been prepared for the patient the gardaí had brought in. Ms Hyland  jumped up and saw blood coming from her side. She and the other nurse  went into a linen closet to examine her side. Kankam came in and said he was sorry.

    Management was made aware of the incident and while Ms Hyland was brought to A&E for treatment, Kankam was escorted as far as the door and told to go home.

    In court, Ms Hyland said she had been traumatised by the incident and while she had loved working in Galway, she had since moved to another psychiatric unit in Mayo.

  • Patients attending the Emergency Department, outpatient and other appointments at University Hospital Galway are facing significant delays as the impact of the ransomware attack on the HSE IT systems continues to affect the delivery of hospital services.

    In a statement from Saolta this evening it says that although progress has been made to get priority systems back up and running including radiology, diagnostic/laboratory and patient information systems, many systems are not functioning fully or are much slower than usual. In addition, many supporting systems haven’t been restored yet.

     Dr Ramona McLoughlin, Clinical Director for the Medical Directorate said, “We want to advise patients that they will face delays when they come to the hospital. We regret these delays and are working very hard within the hospital and with HSE IT Services nationally to restore the systems to allow us to function efficiently. There are around 80 different interconnected IT systems in use at the hospital making it a complex process to restore and the workarounds in place in the meantime are slowing us down. Unfortunately we are not able to run all clinics yet and we are still cancelling appointments.

     “Patients who are notified that their appointment is going ahead are advised to attend and be prepared to face delays.

     “Patients attending the Emergency Department are facing extremely long delays because essential services like blood tests and diagnostic services are taking much longer than usual and this is significantly increasing turnaround times for our patients. Patients needing urgent care will be prioritised. We ask patients to contact their GP or GP Out Of Hours Service in the first instance if their health problem is not urgent.

     “We would like to thank all our patients and their families for their support at this difficult time and apologise for the current disruptions and delays.”