HSE West

  • Over 90% of Covid-19 test results in the West are back within 36 hours of the test taking place- that's according to a senior HSE official, who answered questions on the issue at yesterday's meeting of the HSE Regional Forum.

    Mayo, Galway and Roscommon have all recorded a major increase in demand for Covid-testing, with members of the forum raising concerns about reports of people waiting up to a week for results.

    However, Chief Officer of Community Healthcare West Breda Crehan-Roche said over 90% of test results are dispatched on the same day, or the day after the test is conducted.

    She explained that some delays have resulted from people not providing mobile phone numbers, as text messages are the quickest way to relay test results.

     

     

  • Close to three hundred people in Mayo are at present  either approved or waiting to be approved for a Home Care package but remain without it, and as a result many of them are languishing in hospital beds when they want to be at home.

    This figure was confirmed by Tony Canavan , Chief Officer for Community Healthcare West, at this week’s HSE West Forum in Merlin Park, in response to a question from Independent Castlebar Councillor Michael Kilcoyne.

    The Councillor says that 300 patients would fill a small hospital and he said it astounds him that the HSE can continue to argue that they don’t have the funding to provide the home care needed by applicants who qualify for the service, while many of the same patients remain in hospital beds costing up to 8,000 euro a week.

    The cost of a home care package in comparison would be in the hundreds of euros.

  • Covid-19 case numbers are continuing to fall across Mayo and Roscommon, but the figures for Galway are concerning, according to the HSE West.

    Mayo's 14-day incidence rate is now 377 per 100,000 - higher than the national average.

    Galway's 14-day is 334 per 100,000 people, and 130 per 100,000 in Roscommon.

    Galway has seen 863 new cases of the virus over the past 14 days, with 493 in Mayo.

    Director of Public Health with the HSE West Dr Breda Smyth says we was seeing a continued reduction of cases in Mayo and Roscommon, but case numbers are plateauing in Galway, which is concerning.

    She says it's very important that anyone with symptoms would self-isolate in their room immediately, and then call their GP to arrange a test.

     

  • The first of several High Court actions over substandard audiology services for children in the west of Ireland has been settled. 

    The court approved a €450,000 settlement in the case of a 13-year-old boy who has a lifelong impairment because of inadequate treatment for hearing loss. 

    Callan Molloy, from Ballinderreen, Kilcolgan, Co Galway, did not have his hearing loss properly treated for the first eight years of his life.

    The Health Service Executive has previously apologised to more than 100 families for failings in audiology services after a review of a service provided by one audiologist from 2011 to 2015.

     The issue was uncovered by an RTÉ Investigates report in 2018.

  • While much of the current focus is on Covid-19, efforts are also continuing to reduce the spread of flu this Winter.

    For the first time, children aged between 2 and 12 are being offered the flu vaccine free of charge this Winter.

    GPs and pharmacists can give the nasal vaccine to children to protect them from the flu virus.

    The HSE says the vaccine is administered using a spray in each nostril and is pain-free.

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    The HSE is advising of an outbreak of Mumps in the Western Region.

    There's been an increase in the number of people aged 15-29 years old being diagnosed with mumps in the West, with 45 patients diagnosed in the past 7 weeks.

    Mumps is an acute viral illness that causes fever, headache and swollen salivary glands, and can be spread from person to person by coughs and sneezes, as well as through direct contact with saliva.

    People with mumps remain unwell for 7-10 days, and treatment of mumps is focused on relieving symptoms, with fluids and over the counter painkillers, as well as rest.

    To prevent infection, people with mumps are advised to stay away from school, college or work for 5 days after the onset of their symptoms.

    With 45 patients in the West diagnosed with Mumps in the past 7 weeks, this is considered an outbreak, according to the HSE, who say the best protection against mumps is to have the MMR vaccine.

    If people have not had two doses of the MMR, or are not sure if they've had two doses, they should be vaccinated as the HSE says an extra dose of the MMR vaccine will not do any harm.

  • The HSE Community Healthcare West Chief Officer says no decision has yet been taken on where residents of the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea will be moved to.

    Tony Canavan was speaking to Midwest News today following the news earlier this week that the unit will not continue to operate in its current guise.

    It follows a review by Dr James Anderson of the clinical assessments of the needs of each resident of the unit, on behalf of the HSE.

    The assessment concluded that two of the current residents required inpatient psychiatric care in a different setting, while the remaining 10 patients’ needs were exclusively supportive of general nursing at the time of inspection.

    Tony Canavan told Midwest News this evening that the unit will cease to be used as it currently is and alternative arrangements will be put in place for the 12 residents.

    He told Midwest News the HSE only wishes to ensure patients are receiving the best possible care they can.

    Meanwhile the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) today strongly condemned the decision of the HSE to close the Rosalie Community Psychiatric Unit in Castlerea. The PNA said the closure, which the HSE has claimed is in line with the recommendations of the Anderson Report, is a clear breach of repeated political commitments to keep the unit open and is against the wishes of service users and their families/carers.

    The PNA is seeking urgent clarification on HSE comments to the media regarding their concerns over the level of care being provided in the Rosalie Unit. The PNA totally rejects these reported comments from the HSE that have caused deep distress to staff working in the unit. The PNA is meeting with HSE management in the next week to seek clarification on the implications for services of the Anderson Report, and the HSE response to the closure of the Rosalie Unit.

  • The HSE executive has agreed to meet with Galway Oireachtas members and HSE West Forum members to address a crisis in funding to services for young people with autism in Galway.

    At this week’s HSE West forum meeting in Merlin Park, Headford based Fianna Fail Councillor Mary Hoade made a strong case for the service, known as GAP, (Galway Autism Partnership) that is located in Newcastle. She said she had attended a public meeting on the crisis earlier this week in the city, and the service that is used by more than 200 individuals with autism looks set to close down if funding of 75,000 euro cannot be secured.

    HSE Chief Officer for Communities Tony Canavan explained that all voluntary agencies are funded through Section 38 / 39 Service level or Grant Aid Agreements. He acknowledged the value of the service provided by GAP, and he said the organisaton had received some funding in 2017 but added that resources can only be allocated on the basis of funding available to the HSE.

    Nonetheless,  due to the funding crisis that has now occurred for the group, he said he was willing to meet with Oireachtas members locally to see if additional funding could be found.

  • The HSE West received over 2,000 requests for information last year under Freedom of Information, with half of these relating to Galway University Hospital.

    The figures were released at a recent meeting of the HSE Regional Forum, when Galway City FG Councillor Padraig Conneely asked for details on the number of FOI requests, and how long it takes to process such requests.

     Councillor Conneely says many FOI requests follow publicity about a certain health-related matter.

     

  • The number of people with Covid-19 being treated in intensive care units has reached 200.

    The Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan is warning the situation in the country's hospitals is "stark".

    The total number of Covid-positive patients in hospitals across the country has risen to 2,023 with 115 admissions in the last 24 hours.

    There are currently 98 patients with Covid being treated at Mayo University Hospital - up from 80 on Saturday.

    The HSE West is warning that there continues to be a very high level of infection across Mayo, Galway and Roscommon.

    The 14-day incidence rate of the virus in Mayo is currently 1,635 per 100,000 people, with 2134 new cases recorded across Co Mayo over the past 2 weeks.

    Dr Breda Smyth, Director of Public Health with the HSE West says that, over the next 2 weeks, our hospitals and medical services will be under significant pressure.

    She says we can assist frontline workers by halting the spread of the virus in our communities.

    This means Staying at Home and Staying Safe.

    Dr Smyth is appealing to people to work from home if at all possible, and only to leave their homes for essential items and medicine.

    Anyone who has travelled here recently from Brazil or South Africa is asked to self-isolate for 14 days after their arrival into Ireland, contact a doctor and get a Covid test - whether or not they have symptoms.

  • Members of the public who are concerned about coronavirus symptoms should stay at home and contact health services over the phone.

    That was the strong message from the HSE West as they briefed Midwest News about the latest public health advice to stem the spread of covid19.

    The health service is asking the public to limit their social interaction and to practice social distancing of two metres when in contact with others.

    Dr Ciara Kelly is a Public Health Specialist Registrar at HSE West and has been telling Midwest News about the latest best practices to tackle the virus.

    More at 1pm...

     

  • The HSE West is urging the people of Mayo, Roscommon and Galway to think carefully about the number of people they see in the run-up to Christmas Day.

    Dr Breda Smyth, HSE Director of Public Health in the West has issued a statement saying that, as we approach Christmas, it's vitally important that we all limit the number of interactions we have with others.

    Recent Thanksgiving celebrations in the US show that one day of mixing with older loved ones has led to increased numbers of hospitalisations and deaths, and we can prevent this by ensuring we're not carrying the virus, and have reduced our contacts in the week leading up to Christmas Day.

    Dr Smyth says the more risks people take, and the more people meet can have a really significant impact on the spread of Covid-19, and we must remain vigilant to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

    The HSE West has also issued guidance for Christmas Day  - encouraging people to wash hands regularly, avoid hugs, kisses and handshakes and wear masks when serving and preparing food, while keeping homes ventilated.

     

     

  • A new drive-through test facility for coronavirus has opened today in Castlerea.

    The HSE has confirmed to Midwest News that, in line with their plans to increase Covid-19 testing, a new facility has opened today at the Castlerea Fire Station, which has been closed as a fire station for the past three years.

    The HSE says this new drive-through test facility will replace the current test centre at The Lodge at Roscommon University Hospital.

    The test centre at Castlerea Fire Station is the third drive-through test centre in the region, along with McHale Park in Castlebar and Galway Airport.

     

     

  • One case of meningitis has been confirmed in the HSE West region during the past week.

    Nationally, there has been a marked increase over the last fortnight in meningitis cases, with 11 cases notified since the last week in December, while three patients diagnosed with meningitis have since died.

    Dr Aine McNamara, a specialist in public health medicine with the HSE West, is urging parents of young children and teenagers to ensure their sons and daughters have received all of the meningitis vaccinations.

    She says people should also be aware of the symptoms, which include fever, vomiting, a dislike of bright lights and a rash that does not fade when pressed with a glass.

     

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    The criteria for testing for Covid-19 changed yesterday evening. A person now needs to have two symptoms to qualify for the test, before contacting his/her GP to secure a test appointment.

    If you have a fever or a chill with one the following symptoms- a cough of any kind or a breathing difficulty - you are advised to immediately self isolate and call your GP, according to Dr Ciara Kelly, Public Health Doctor with the HSE West.

    She told Midwest News today that the reason for the change in criteria, is to establish more quickly the number of people in the country with the Covid 19 virus.

    Testing to date, she explained, was proving positive in just 6 percent of people tested and public health want to identify the higher incident of the virus they know is out there,  and then prioritise testing around those with it and their immediate contacts, in an effort to control its spread more effectively.

     

  • The most up to date advice from the HSE is that the wearing of disposable masks and plastic gloves generally may do more harm than good during the pandemic

    Dr Ciara Kelly Public Health Specialist Registrar at HSE West says Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is critical for health care workers and for persons suspected or confirmed as having contracted Covid 19, but otherwise, the wearing of face masks and disposable gloves may well give a false sense of security.

    Dr Kelly insists that the regular washing of hands, cleaning surfaces, maintaining social distancing and observing coughing and sneezing etiquette are the most effective way for the general public to prevent the spread of the virus.

    Internationally, as some countries begin to lift the lock downs imposed during the pandemic, more face masks are being distributed to the general public in these countries, speaking to Midwest News today Dr Kelly said the advice here stays the same - disposable gloves and face masks are no magic solution for the general public , and may do more harm than good in some cases if you are not sick.

  • There are a number of "do’s and don’ts" about wearing face masks/covering during the Covid 19 pandemic, and among the do’s is to wash your face covering daily at a 60 degrees machine wash with detergent.

    That’s according to Dr Ciara Kelly, Public Health Specialist Registrar at HSE West.

    Dr Kelly explains that the wearing of a face mask or covering is advised in any situation where 2metre social distancing is not always possible, but again stressed the constant washing of hands, and adhering to coughing and sneezing etiquette, and maintaining social distancing as the most effective ways of preventing the spreading or contraction of the virus.

    Dr Kelly has been speaking to Midwest News today about the latest HSE advise on the wearing/ non-wearing of facemasks.

    For more information see hse.ie

  • People across the region are being asked to think carefully about the number of people they see in the run-up to Christmas Day.

    Dr Breda Smyth, Director of Public Health in the West, and Straide native, says it’s vitally important that everyone limits the number of interactions with others.

    Thanksgiving in the US and a similar family celebration in the Netherlands (Sinterklaas), indicate that  one day of mixing with older loved ones can given rise to increased number of hospitalisations and deaths.

    We can prevent this, she says, by ensuring we are not carrying the virus and that we have reduced our contacts in thedays leading up to Christmas Day.

     The latest national data published last night highlights that the number of cases is increasing more rapidly than had been anticipated. This increase in cases is particularly worrying in the context of inter-generational mixing over the Christmas period. We have seen the 7-day incidence rate for people aged 19-44 more than double since 11 December from 106 per 100,000 population to 217 per 100,000.

    If people are meeting on Christmas Day there are a number of important measures that you should try to follow:

     Encourage guests to use hand sanitiser or to wash their hands when they arrive at your home and repeat this hourly over the course of the day:

            Avoid hugs, kisses and handshakes as people arrive.

            Everyone must wear a mask, including hosts.

            Don’t share items like crockery and glass ware. Don’t share food and avoid buffet style set ups.

            Keep the number of people in the kitchen to a minimum, and wear masks when preparing and serving food.

            The risk of transmission increases when we take our mask off to eat. Therefore, try to seat households together and spaced from other households.

            Allow extra space at the dinner table - extra distance between guests will make sure everyone is comfortable and safe.

            Keep your home and spaces where people are gathering ventilated, keep windows and doors open where possible.

            Incorporate a walk together into the day and try to spend some time outside.