• A change in the contracts of HSE Carers will mean different carers calling every day to elderly clients.

    That's according to Castlebar-based Independent Councillor Michael Kilcoyne, who's concerned that there will be no consistency in the service, and that elderly people will be concerned about a number of different people calling to their homes to provide care.

    He's also concerned about security, as a number of carers may have keys to a client's home.

    Councillor Kilcoyne says he has been contacted by anxious families in relation to the change in carer's contracts, and will raise the matter at the next meeting of the HSE Regional Forum.

    Midwest News has also contacted the HSE for clarification in relation to this issue, and we're currently awaiting a response.

  • It’s disappointing to discover that the HSE run nursing home Aras Mhuire in Tuam has had its registration lapsed. That’s according to local Fianna Fail Councillor Donnagh Killilea. The Councillor says however, that HSE management has assured him that the re-registration process is now underway.

    At a recent HSE West Forum meeting, Cllr Killilea, a member of the forum sought information on the new residential facility on the site beside the Primary Care Centre in the town, asking if a design team has been put in place for the development.

  • The HSE says the Department of Health has not yet ruled out the building of a new hospital for Galway at the present overcrowded University Hospital Galway site in the city centre, despite a 150 acre site available at Merlin Park Hospital for the development.

    That position was confirmed by HSE West Management to Galway based Fine Gael councillor Padraig Conneely at a recent HSE West forum meeting.

    The councillor says he cannot believe that the deparment is even considering the city centre site for the new development, but HSE executive explained that all option continue to be explored.

  • There were seven ambulances with patients lined up outside Mayo University Hospital in Castlebar last night, as ambulance staff awaited the admittance of their patients to the Emergency Dept of the hospital.

    That’s according to Castlebar Independent councillor Michael Kilcoyne.

     Cllr Kilcoyne told Midwest News today that it’s ironic that the Minister for Climate Action is in Castlebar today, as seven ambulances were forced to keep their vehicles running last night to keep sick patients warm and cared for as they awaited entry to the hospital.

    He says the need for an expansion of the Emergency Dept at MUH has long been both debated and promised by government, and yet sick people in this region are forced to put up with these services.

  • A Mayo Councillor is concerned about delays facing some medical card patients in getting an appointment with their local GP.

    Castlebar Independent Councillor Michael Kilcoyne raised the matter at the recent HSE Regional Forum meeting, where he was told that most patients get a same-day appointment, but in some cases, the appointment cannot be got until the following day or later.

    Councillor Kilcoyne also asked HSE management what's the maximum number of medical card patients that can be assigned to one GP - and was told the maximum is 2,000, with an additional 200 where the GP has a contract to provide free services to children under 6.

    There is no limit on the number of private patients a GP can have on their books.

  • A creche in Co Galway has been closed, following an outbreak of E-coli.

    The creche in the Dunmore area has been temporarily closed after three children were diagnosed with a serious form of gastroenteritis last week, while a further four cases have been detected this week.

    Two of the young children involved are being treated in hospital in Dublin, where it's understood they were placed on dialysis.

    The HSE says an investigation into the cause of the outbreak is continuing.

    It is understood that both staff and children at the facility have taken ill. All are being monitored and will not be allowed into other childcare centres until tests show they are completely free of infection and pose no risk to others.



  • A Boil water notice has been issued for businesses and customers supplied by the Knock Airport Public Water Supply.

    Following advice from the HSE, Irish Water and Mayo County Council the notice has been put in place.

    This also affects Cloonlyon Group Water Scheme along with Knock Airport, Cloonlyon National School and approximately 15 households.  

    The Boil Water Notice has been put in place following the detection of cryptosporidium in the Knock Airport Public Water Supply.

    Irish Water drinking water compliance and operational experts are working with colleagues in Mayo County Council to resolve this situation as soon as possible. Irish Water and Mayo County Council will continue to liaise with the Health Service Executive with a view to lifting the Boil Water Notice as soon as practicable.

    In the meantime, all customers of this supply are advised to boil water before use until further notice.

  • The decision by the HSE to close the Home Help Scheme to new entrants will trap carers in their homes and leave them unable to access a break from the 24/7 care they provide.

    That’s according to Roscommon Independent TD Denis Naughten who has warned that it will lead to a situation where families will have no choice but to admit older people to long term nursing home care.

    Deputy Naughten says the decision by the HSE to effectively ban the increase in home help hours to those who require more support and suspend the allocation of home help hours altogether to new applicants is a major reversal in policy.

  • A decision now needs to be made as to how exactly the HSE run Rosalie Unit in Castlerea is to develop, according to Minister for Communications, local deputy Denis Naughten. 

    At a meeting yesterday in the unit with the Minister for the Elderly Jim Daly and attended by local public representatives and HSE representatives, seven different options were presented as to how the unit might progress. 

    At present the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea is a residential home for about 12 residents with dementia.

    A local campaign group has worked hard to keep the facility open, after the HSE had stated its intention to close it some months ago. 

    However that decision was reversed and Minister Naughten received a firm commitment from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that the unit as a residential facility for patients with mental health issues, would remain open. Leo Varadkar had given the same commitment in 2015 when he was Minister for Health and the future of the unit was under threat. 


  • It could be 2019 before the promised new modular orthopaedic theatres for Merlin Park Hospital in Galway will be in place. The urgently required temporary structures have been stalled due to a delay by the HSE in appointing a contractor.

    The matter was raised by the Cathaoirleach of the HSE West Forum, Headford based councillor Mary Hoade at the May meeting of the Forum.

    Councillor Hoade said that the additional theatre space was promised to be in place by October of this year, but with no contractor yet appointed and no planning permission sought for the development, its delivery within the promised time frame is unlikely.

    HSE Management confirmed that there has been a delay in appointing a contractor and as a result the October delivery date is unlikely.

    The modular theatres were proposed last September, when two orthopaedic theatres at Merlin Park were forced to closed due to structural problems. One of the two has reopened since.

    However, the waiting list for hip and knee surgeries across counties Galway, Roscommon and Mayo is increasing, with intense pressure on the one working theatre at present.

  • A design team has been appointed for the proposed  new 50 bed HSE residential care home in Tuam. That’s according to local Fianna Fail councillor Daragh Killalea. The councillor is a member of the HSE West Forum and earlier this week he raised progress on the facility with HSE management.

    Afterwards councillor Killalea told Midwest News that the HSE acknowledged the generous gift of the late Joe O’Toole, a business man in Tuam, and his family in progressing this 7 million euro development.

  • With HSE services in Galway, Mayo and Roscommon returning to normal, the Saolta University Health Care Group and the HSE’s Community Healthcare Organisation Area 2 have thanked  the public for its support and understanding during the recent severe weather.

    In a statement released today they say they would like to thank, most sincerely, staff who went above and beyond to continue to deliver patient care during some very challenging days.

    Many staff had to put the service needs first above their own personal and family needs during this period and for this we are very grateful.

    The group also acknowledge the support of the National Ambulance Service, the Defence Forces, the Gardaí and Civil Defence in assisting with emergency transportation of patients and staff.

    They also thank the local communities for the help and support they provided to the Saolta Group.

    Hospitals have been busy and will continue to be in the coming days, particularly the Emergency Departments.

    As they prioritise treatment and care for the sickest patients and those with life threatening illnesses, it means that patients with less serious illnesses and conditions may need to wait longer for their treatment.

    As a result of this the organisation are asking people to think about all of their care and treatment options so we can keep our ED services for the patients who need them most particularly over the next few days.

    Community services in Galway Mayo and Roscommon have been disrupted over the last five days and focus is now on restoring normal service delivery as promptly as possible starting back today, Monday 5th March.

    Most services are either now running as normal or will be fully restored very shortly.

    However, the disruption caused by the severe weather may have a knock-on effect for the week ahead.

  • Efforts to avert a strike by the country's nurses have ended without a resolution.

    Talks took place earlier between The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, the Psychiatric Nurses Association and the HSE, to try and reach agreement on issues surrounding pay and conditions.

    The unions say they weren't presented with concrete proposals and the strike action goes ahead.

    Another meeting between the sides is planned for next Monday.

    The INMO will hold the first of six nationwide 24-hour strikes on January 30th, while the PNA is planning a three day stoppage from February 12th.

  • It's eight years since a modular extension was proposed for the Emergency Department at Mayo University Hospital, but the Government has not yet approved the plan - according to Mayo Fianna Fail TD Lisa Chambers.

    Due to ongoing overcrowding in the Emergency Department, hospital management applied for a modular unit, which would provide between 12 and 20 additional beds - to reduce pressure and the numbers of patients waiting on trolleys.

    However, the HSE is "still considering the application", according to a response given to a parliamentary question from Deputy Chambers.

    The Fianna Fail TD says it's incredible that the HSE is still considering the application eight years later....

  • An emergency meeting of Roscommon county Council is getting underway about now (10am) to discuss what’s termed the “imminent” and “brutal”closure of the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea.

    There has been widespread local anger over the confirmation from the HSE, earlier this month, that the Rosalie Unit would cease to function as a community psychiatric unit.

    Alternative care arrangements, according to the HSE, are being put in place for each of the present residents of the facility.

    Up to 70 protesters gathered at the gates of the Rosalie Unit on Thursday last to condemn the HSE decision.

    Councillors are calling on Roscommon County Council to take a stance on the issue.

  • There's a call on the HSE to lift the recruitment freeze on mental health staff.


    Fianna Fail TD James Browne says nearly 20 per cent of psychiatric nursing posts are unfilled.


    He's describing it as unacceptable, and having a negative impact on mental health services across the country.


    Deputy Browne says the Government isn't doing enough to fill these posts:

  • The Minister for Finance is urging both sides in the latest health workers dispute to continue with efforts to avoid tomorrow's planned strike.

    10,000 health support staff who are members of the SIPTU trade union are due to stage industrial action from 8am tomorrow morning, in a row over pay.

    38 hospitals and healthcare facilities will be affected by the strike - including Mayo, Sligo, Roscommon and Galway University Hospitals as well as Portiuncla and Merlin Park Hospital.

    The HSE has acknowledged the strike will have a "significant impact" on services despite back-up plans being put in place.

    Minister Paschal Donohoe says whatever can be done across the day will be done in a bid to avert tomorrow's industrial action.

     But he says a pay agreement is still in place, which he's committed to protecting.


  • Progress on delivering a new emergency department at University Hospital Galway is very slow, and five years down the line from when it was first promised, planning permission has not yet been sought for the development.

    In the meantime, demand on the department is increasing with more than 5,000 patients presenting themselves at the hospital’s ED in each of the months July, August and September of this year. That’s a 4 percent increase on the same period last year.

    The matter was raised at this week’s HSE West Forum Meeting in Merlin Park by two Galway based Councillors, Headford Fianna Fail Councillor Mary Hoade, and Galway city based Fine Gael Councillor Padraig Conneely.

    Both Councillors expressed concerns that the new ED plans are not moving quickly enough.

    Cllr Hoade says she is aware of many patients who have scheduled surgery in Galway, being told the evening before admission, that due to the volume of patients in the ED that their surgery has been postponed.

    Cllr Conneely told Teresa that he cannot understand why all the groups and agencies involved in progressing the delivery of an urgently required new ED in Galway cannot come together in one room and get things sorted.


  • Four nursing jobs are available in Ireland for every qualified nurse applying, the latest HSE figures show.

    The Irish Times is reporting that intensive care units and operating theatres around the country are among the worst hit for shortages as the HSE says it is having particular difficulties recruiting specialist nurses.

    The HSE has also said it is 20 per cent less expensive to directly employ nurses rather than paying an agency to bring in temporary staff.

    Although the number of nurses rose by 400 last year, the HSE is having particular difficulties getting recruits for “theatre and intensive care where specialist skills are required”.

     Before the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Independent Galway West TD Catherine Connolly  highlighted that two operating theatres at Merlin Park Hospital and an entire ward at University Hospital Galway were shut because of staff shortages.

     “When I ask why it is closed, I find it is an absence of staff. If there is an absence of nurses at that level, we have an emergency.

    The PAC was examining the latest annual report and financial statement of the HSE, which showed “the ratio of nursing jobs in Ireland to nurses looking for them is four to one and it is particularly difficult to fill specialist nursing roles”.


  • Due to an on-going outbreak of norovirus in Mayo University Hospital, management is now asking for a full restriction on visiting. Arrangements will be made for family members of critically ill patients or those patients who require assistance or support of a family member; this should be arranged through the nurse on duty in the ward prior to arrival at the hospital.

    Any patient presenting to the hospital with recent symptoms of diarrhoea and/ or vomiting or had contact with others who have these symptoms MUSTnotify staff on arrival into the hospital so that contingency measures can be immediately put in place.

    The Hospital Management says it appreciates and thanks the community for their support for this patient safety measure.