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.

  • The head of the HSE says there's "huge concern" over the Covid 19 trends in hospitals.

    30 people are being treated in intensive care with the disease, the highest figure since early June.

    That includes 8 admissions in the last 24 hours.

    The overall numbers in hospital with coronavirus have also risen to 179.

    HSE CEO Paul Reid says they're watching the numbers very closely.

  • 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.

  • At least 169 people have been waiting at least a year to be seen by the HSE's National Counselling Service.

    All of those waiting over a year are based in Galway, Mayo and Roscommon.

    The HSE figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal there are over 10,000 people on waiting lists across the country for the National Counselling Service.

    The statistics involve counselling in primary care, along with those who've suffered a bereavement or need help due to suicidal thoughts or self-harm.

    At least 721 people have been waiting at least seven months, and 169 have been waiting over a year.

    All of those on the list for more than a year are in Galway, Mayo and Roscommon. 

  • 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.

     

     

  • Ambulance workers from the Psychiatric Nurses Association say they've been left with no choice but to go on strike.

    500 of them have begun a 24 hour walkout across the country as part of a dispute over union recognition.

    The workers will still deal with emergencies and the HSE says all calls are being responded to.

    Bertie Dowling is an advanced paramedic in Mayo and he told Midwest News that there has been no movement in this dispute.

    “It’s just about Union recognition, we just want our union to represent us,” said Mr Dowling.

    “They won’t even tell us the reasons why they won’t talk to us.”

  • 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 .

     

  • The HSE says sourcing enough personal protective equipment remains a challenge.

     

    It's confirmed a second batch of gowns, gloves, masks and face shields will start arriving in the coming weeks.

     

    The consignment from China will be worth around 130 million euro.

     

    The executive says issues with the quality of previous supplies of PPE have now been addressed,

  • 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.

  • Home Care Services have been cancelled again this week at the McBride Nursing Home in Westport.

    As reported previously on Midwest News, people expecting to avail of day care service at the unit are having their service cancelled at the last minute, on a regular basis over the past number of weeks.

    It has now emerged that there are eight staff vacancies at the McBride home which haven’t been filled.

    Five of these posts haven’t been filled since 2018 and the Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council Brendan Mulroy says the HSE can say what they want but this is definitely a downgrading of the McBride Nursing Home.

    Mayo Fianna Fail TD Lisa Chambers requested details from the Health Minister regarding the number of staff employed at the nursing unit and Councillor Mulroy is now calling on the HSE to come out and make a statement of intent on their plans for the McBride Home.

  • 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.

  • The report sought last month from the CE of the HSE by the then Minister for Health Simon Harris on the Covid-19 measures taken at Mayo University Hospital  from the outset of the Covid pandemic, now needs to be published, according to Aontu leader Peadar Toibin.

    According to documents released under the Freedom of Information Act to Mr Toibin  it is claimed that a cancer patient suffering the side effects of chemotherapy was placed in a Covid-19 ward at Mayo University Hospital.

    In details of the complaint, lodged by a relative of the patient, it is claimed that the man, who is an oncology patient, arrived at the ED OF Mayo University Hospital on May 1st ,  and was admitted to a Covid-19 ward where there were five Covid-19 patients.

    He had according to the complaint "arrived at the hospital as a very vulnerable patient with a very serious underlying illness and a compromised immune system". He was not displaying any Covid-19 symptoms”.

    The complainant, lodged on May 4th, alleges that the man was moved into an isolation ward later that same evening. However, by that time he had already been according to the complaint, "exposed to the coronavirus, unprotected, for an extended period of time".

    Mr Toibin told Midwest News today the report on what measures have been in place since the start of the pandemic to segregate Covid and non Covid patients at MUH is now needed to ensure people in this region have confidence to attend the hospital.

  • 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.

  • The bathing ban enforced at Rosses Point and Mullaghmore beaches earlier in the week has been lifted.

    A high level of bacteria was found in water samples taken at the sites of the two Sligo beaches.

    The HSE conducted a further test on the 1st of August and this test returned a result of ‘excellent water quality.’

  • 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.