• The HSE says it will do everything it can to restore normal service following the suspension of this week's nurses strike.

     Outpatient appointments are set to go ahead as planned today and patients with appointments for today, tomorrow and Thursday are advised to attend as scheduled.

    Surgical patients will be contacted by their hospital if their procedure is going ahead.

    Nurses could get pay rises of around 7 percent as part of the Labour Court deal which will be balloted on within the next month

    Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe refused to be drawn on the details before briefing his Cabinet colleagues but he confirmed he would be recommending acceptance.

    Health Minister Simon Harris says he’s confident the HSE can quickly restore services to the country's hospitals.

    The INMO's Phil Ní Sheaghdha, says more negotiation is needed on some aspects of the deal.

    Meanwhile patient representatives say the industrial relations system has failed the people of Ireland with the length of time it's taken to get to this point, and lessons should be learned to ensure it doesn't happen again.



    More than €105,000 has been refunded after residential service users with intellectual disabilities in Co Roscommon were wrongly charged for the provision of incontinence wear.

    Details of the refund were included in a briefing by the HSE for the Dáil's Public Accounts Committee.

    The committee heard last week that health authorities told the Brothers of Charity in Co Roscommon in 1997 that service users would not receive funding for these products.

    On that basis, a number of service users were charged for incontinence wear between 2002 and 2013. It says the practice of charging for incontinence wear was stopped in 2013 following the investigation of a complaint made by the family of one of the individuals involved.

    A total of €105,335 was provided on a once-off basis to the Brothers of Charity to refund clients for the "inappropriate charges" and the service users have received a "full refund".

    Sligo Fianna Fáil TD Marc MacSharry now wants the HSE and Brothers of Charity to answer further questions on the matter before the Public Accounts Committee.

  • 623 people are on trolleys in hospitals across the country today. 

    That includes 32 patients at Sligo University Hospital, 29 at University Hospital Galway, 4 at Mayo University Hospital and 4 at Portiuncla Hospital in Ballinasloe.

    According to the INMO, the worst affected is Cork University Hospital with 58 people waiting on beds. 

    It's followed by University Hospital Limerick where 55 patients are on trolleys.

  • A patient in county Mayo with a GP only card, was charged 20 euro by the administration of the GP’s practice to secure a repeat prescription. When she queried the charge she was told that was the charge incurred.

    However, the patient raised the matter with the Cathaoirleach of Castlebar Municipal District Michael Kilcoyne, as cllr Kilcoyne is a member of the HSE West Forum and he sought clarification on the situation at this week’s forum meeting in Merlin Park.

    HSE management clearly stated that a patient with a GP only card cannot be charged for a repeat prescription regardless of who issues it – the doctor, the nurse or the secretarial staff.

    Cllr Kilcoyne explained to Midwest News today how he became aware of the case and the clear response of the executive of the HSE to it.

  • The person appointed to carry out an independent review of the clinical assessments carried out at the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea, has withdrawn from the process.

    That was confirmed to relatives of service-users of the facility yesterday.

    Clinical assessments were carried out earlier this year at the unit to establish the needs of the residents going forward.

    An independent review of those assessments was being carried out, after the assessments were concluded in May of this year.

    However the person appointed to carry out the review by the College of Psychiatrists has now withdrawn from the process.

    The review was due to be completed by September of this year but relatives of residents were informed yesterday that it will now be January of 2019 before the review is completed, as an independent third party is being sought to finish the work.

    Liam Walsh, whose mother is a resident at the Rosalie Unit told Midwest News today that it is further disappointing news for families.

  • An overtime ban was suspended yesterday after talks between Psychiatric Nurses' Association and the HSE.

    Progress made in the recruitment of nurses, but the focus will turn to allowances in more discussions next week.

    The PNA's Peter Hughes says there remains a threat of more industrial action.

  • The HSE is proposing to extend the service at the Loughglynn ambulance base in Co Roscommon to a 24 hour per day, 7 days per week service.

    At present, ambulances crews are deployed to the Loughglynn base for possibly a few hours per day, but it’s now proposed to extend it to a round-the-clock service, as the ambulance base covers a wide area of West Roscommon and East Mayo.

    The issue was discussed yesterday at the HSE Regional Forum meeting in Galway, where councillors were informed that discussions are already underway, and it's hoped to extend the service within the next 6 months.

    Loughlynn-based FG Councillor Micheal Creaton says it’s a welcome development as the ambulance base at present is only manned on a part-time basis.

  • A proposal to cancel registration for Áras Attracta in Swinford, a campus-based residential setting for people with intellectual disabilities in Swinford operated by the HSE has been withdrawn by the Health Information and Quality Authority.

    The decision was made following inspections carried out at the facility on January 8th and 9th of this year. The proposal to cancel their registration was issued in September 2017. However on foot of the latest inspection report, the Chief Inspector of Social Services in HIQA has withdrawn that proposal and is inviting the HSE to apply to register these centres. However HIQA has said in a statement that it remains concerned about the sustainability of these improvements and the areas of continued non-compliance.

    The Health Information and Quality Authority has published three inspection reports for centres in Áras Attracta today.

    It found that improvements had been made to residents’ safety and quality of life since the previous inspections in May 2017. The HSE had implemented, or was in the process of implementing, the majority of actions required following previous inspections, within the agreed time frames. Revised management and oversight arrangements had been put in place in all three centres and appropriate action was now being taken in relation to safeguarding concerns.

    Inspectors found that residents were now afforded more choice in how they spent their day and in how they decorated their bedrooms. Residents could now take part in activities of interest to them. Residents and their families could now participate in making decisions that affect them through regular resident and family forums. Some residents had recently moved out of the campus into more appropriate housing in the community, while other residents told inspectors that they were looking forward to their move into the community.

    However, improvements are required in a number of areas across the campus:

    • further improving oversight of the quality and safety of care,
    • increasing opportunities for residents to participate in education, training or employment,
    • completing fire prevention upgrade work, as required by the HSE’s fire consultant,
    • making sure residents have an accessible version of their personal plan,
    • providing further training to ensure staff can meet residents' assessed needs,
    • ensuring staff files contain all records to verify that they are appropriate to work in the centre, as required under the regulations.

    While there continues to be non-compliance in areas such as the workforce, risk management, governance, suitability of accommodation on the campus and aspects of social care provision, the HSE has submitted a satisfactory action plan to fully address these issues and bring the centres into full compliance with the regulations and standards.

    On the basis of the HSE’s overall plan for the campus and the action plans submitted following these inspections, HIQA has withdrawn the notices of proposal to cancel the registration of the campus. This will provide the HSE with an opportunity to fully implement their action plans. However, HIQA remains concerned about the sustainability of these improvements and will continue to monitor the campus closely to ensure that the provider continues to improve residents’ care, safety and quality of life. HIQA now expects to receive completed applications for the registration of centres in Áras Attracta and, when received, the Chief Inspector will give due consideration to these.




  • Hundreds of people will take to the streets across Ireland today to support ambulance staff.

    Paramedics have been on strike for several days since January, as they lobby the HSE to recognise their union, Nasra.

    The campaign continues today with protests in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway cities.

  • 6,000 psychiatric nurses across the country will begin industrial action this evening.

    The Psychiatric Nurses' Association says its members will work only their contracted hours because of health management's failure to address a recruitment and retention crisis.

    The PNA says the overtime ban will continue until the issue is resolved.

    The HSE says it's putting measures in place to manage the situation, but has warned they may have to reduce the availability of services in the community, in order to maintain services in acute psychiatric units.

    HSE spokesman, David Walsh, is calling on the PNA to take part in talks at the Labour Court in an effort to resolve the dispute:

  • Public hospitals, healthcare facilities, day care centres and community nursing services will all be disrupted tomorrow, as the first day of industrial action by nurses looks set to go ahead.

    37,000 nurses who are members of the INMO will take part in a 24-hour work stoppage from 8am tomorrow morning in a row over pay, and recruitment & retention issues.

    The HSE has confirmed that elective surgical procedures and outpatient appointments have been cancelled.

    Local Injury Units will not operate tomorrow, and with the exception of cancer surgery, all other planned in-patient and day case surgery has been cancelled.

    All public day centres for older people or people with disabilities, where nurses are employed, will be closed tomorrow, all routine community nursing services and Health Centre clinics where nurses participate will also be cancelled.

    Hospital emergency departments, emergency theatres, maternity services, dialysis, palliative care and oncology services including chemotherapy and radiotherapy will operate during tomorrow's strike.

    However, the HSE is advising people only to attend Emergency Departments if absolutely necessary.

    Meanwhile, there are 587 patients on hospital trolleys across the country today.

    Galway University Hospital is the third-busiest in the country with 53 patients waiting for a bed.

    There are 40 patients on trolleys at Sligo University Hospital, 16 at Mayo University Hospital and 11 at Portiuncla Hospital in Ballinasloe.


  • A public meeting in Castlerea last night on the future of the Rosalie Unit heard that a now senior Minister had received written confirmation of assurances given in 2015 over the future of the unit.

    The meeting was held last night over fears about the future of the unit, which is currently home to 12 elderly patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

    The HSE has confirmed there will be no new admissions, while the families of residents are to be consulted about moving them to other facilities in Castlebar and Ballinasloe.

    Earlier yesterday a family delegation met with senior HSE official Tony Canavan, who told them that the unit is not in the future plans of the HSE.

    In 2015 the Rosalie Unit was in danger of closing but the situation was resolved and assurances were given at that time by Minister Kathleen Lynch and HSE officials about the future and longevity of the unit.

    Those assurances have been denied by HSE officials in recent months.

    However at last night’s meeting, Minister for Communications Denis Naughten read his notes from that meeting with the Minister in 2015 and also a letter he received from the private secretary to then Minister for Health Leo Varadkar, reiterating those commitments.

    Minister Naughten told Midwest News today that he has made representations to the Minister for Health and the HSE in recent days and says he expects that the commitments given in 2015 will be stood by.

  • The Rehab Group will engage with the HSE over the coming days to discuss concerns about funding.

    That's according to Health Minister, Simon Harris, who held a meeting with both organisations yesterday evening.

    The Rehab Group is warning it may have to issue the HSE with 12 months notice of a termination of services if it doesn't receive an extra 2 million euro in funding.

    More than 3000 service users and their families could be impacted by such a move, as well as 1500 staff members at 117 locations.

    However, Minister Simon Harris is hopeful a resolution can be found....

  • The second set of sampling results on the Lough Talt water supply contaminated with cryptosporidium are due this evening.

    The HSE has been regularly testing the water after it detected the bacteria early last month.

    A boil water notice has been put in place for the 13,000 people on the Lough Talt water supply for almost a month now. It is impacting on consumers in south and west Sligo/ and areas of east Mayo,

    Irish Water will announce the latest results this evening. Representatives of the water utility company are due to meet the HSE about 4pm to evaluate the results supplied by the latest testing.

  • The battle to save the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea is over, as the last two residents are being moved out tomorrow.

    A campaign has been ongoing over the past five years to retain the unit, which accommodates people with dementia and other mental health conditions.

    However, following a HSE decision to close the unit, the number of residents had dwindled to two, and they will both be transferred tomorrow to Áras Mathair Pól in Castlerea, a HSE-run community nursing home.

    24 staff currently employed at the Rosalie Unit are being offered redeployment and other options, and talks are ongoing with the unions involved, but there's some concern that a number of the staff will have to travel long distances to take up alternative positions.

    Liam Walsh in Castlerea has spearheaded the campaign over the past 5 years to save the Rosalie Unit which has been home to his elderly mother Breda for over a decade.

    Today, he told Midwest News that it's sad to see the doors closing tomorrow for the final time....

  • A Roscommon based Fianna Fail TD has slammed the HSE decision to not automatically award medical cards to all cancer patients.

    Eugene Murphy says this is a devastating blow to cancer patients who are already under extreme pressure.

    Deputy Murphy says there was a genuine expectation among cancer patients that they would be awarded medical cards and has branded the HSE decision as totally unacceptable.

  • County Sligo remains one of two counties in Ireland that still has no abortion services over one year on from the referendum to repeal the 8thamendment to the Constitution.

    Nine months after abortion services have been made available nationally Sligo and Carlow are the only two counties without GP or hospital abortion services. 

    SARRA (Sligo Action for Reproductive Rights Access) has launched a public petition to the HSE calling on it to announce a date for the provision of locally accessible abortion services through the public health system in Co. Sligo.

    The Sligo-based group held a public information stall in O’Connell St., Sligo, on Saturday, 28 September, to point out that women in Co. Sligo still don’t have local access to abortion services through the county’s local health services.

    The group say they have made extensive enquiries with health service structures locally and nationally and still have not been given any details of a date or plan to provide publicly accessible services in Sligo University Hospital or through local GPs.

    A spokesperson for SARRA, Peigin Doyle, said at present, women in Sligo have to travel a round trip of up to 100 km, to Donegal or Roscommon, to access a GP who will give them the medical care they need.

    She highlighted concerns about Sligo women who live in rural areas without public transport services or who cannot afford a car or time to travel.

    SARRA have appealed to local GPs in Sligo to provide abortion services and to join the HSE MyOptions system.

    The organization urges the HSE to train and support medical professionals in providing an accessible service at community level and establish the necessary services in Sligo University Hospital.

  • More than 2,000 surgical and scope procedures and outpatient appointments  nationally were cancelled yesterday  as a result of a 24-hour strike by 10,000 health care workers in a dispute over pay.

    The HSE said the industrial action created a challenging situation and that difficulties arose as the strike began at 8am yesterday in maintaining “essential daily care” for inpatients such as nutrition, hydration, transfer of patients, cleaning and infection control”.

    The 24 hour industrial action concluded at 8am this morning.

    According to today’s Irish Times, health care assistants, maternity care assistants, porters, laboratory aides, chefs, and surgical instrument technicians were on strike as part of a dispute in which Siptu says they are entitled to increases of between €1,500 and €3,000 as a result of the findings of a job evaluation scheme.

    However, the union has rejected a Government proposal for the phased payment of the money commencing in November and running to 2021.

    Talks aimed at averting three further days of strike action next week are to reconvene at the Workplace Relations Commission this morning.

    Siptu’s Paul Bell says while they have accepted an invitation to the talks, the further stoppages next week have not been deferred.He says there's no resolution in sight.


  • A Sligo Councillor claims there's a 3-tier health system operating in this country.

    People who have health insurance or a medical card are treated differently from those who have neither, according to Fianna Fail Councillor Donal Gilroy.

    Speaking at a recent meeting of the HSE Regional Forum, Councillor Gilroy outlined the experience of a woman who was seeking an MRI at Sligo University Hospital, and was given different waiting times, depending on whether she was a public patient with or without a medical card, or a private patient.


    Some women may have waited almost a year now for a result from their cervical check screening.

    That's according to Fianna Fáil's health spokesman, Stephen Donnelly.

    The HSE says 800 women haven't received the test-results because of an IT problem at a US lab.

    It mainly involves women who were sent for rechecks between last October and June 25th of this year.

    The HSE has apologised, but Deputy Donnelly says that's not good enough.