• A Galway City Councillor has expressed concerns about the high level of people presenting at the Emergency Department of Galway University Hospital with alcohol-related conditions.

    The issue was raised at this week's meeting of the HSE Regional Forum, where FG Councillor Padraig Conneely asked management for a breakdown of the figures in relation to those attending the Emergency Department - particularly at weekends and during festivals - with alcohol-related problems.

    Councillor Conneely was told those statistics are not available, but he says national and international trends would indicate that significant resources in Emergency Departments are being used to treat people who have over-indulged.

  • A Galway Councillor has questioned the HSE on why agency staff are being used for clerical work, if there is a panel already there of people who are qualified for the job.

    Fianna Fail Cllr Mary Hoade raised the matter at the recent HSE Regional Health Forum meeting.

    She said she was aware of instances where agency staff are being used in clerical and admin positions but was informed by HSE management that this was generally down to a situation where the contract on offer was short term or was turned down by someone on the panel.

    Cllr Hoade says she is concerned about the cost of agency staff to the HSE, especially where there is a panel in operation.

  • There were heated exchanges in the Dail today between Roscommon Fianna Fail Deputy Eugene Murphy and Minister with responsibility for Older People Jim Daly over the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea.

    Deputy Murphy says every attempt is being made at present to move a resident at the unit to a private nursing home, despite assurances that no patient would be moved before a review of the services there is complete. The review is due to get underway in January.

    Minister Daly told Deputy Murphy that neither he, nor the Roscommon TD are clinicians and therefore can’t decide what is in the best interests of residents.

  • The family of a young Sligo man, who fatally stabbed his nine-year-old brother before taking his own life five years ago, has settled a High Court action against the HSE.

    Shane Skeffington and his wife Carmel from Banada, Tourlestrane had returned from a Sunday afternoon shopping trip on 20th July 2014 to discover their eldest son, 19-year old Shane Junior had stabbed his 9-year old brother Brandon with a knife, leaving him fatally wounded.

    Shane Junior then took his own life.

     The Skeffingtons sued the HSE for alleged negligence and breach of duty in relation to his care.

    It was claimed there was an alleged failure to take care of Shane Jnr when he was in St Columba’s Hospital , Sligo in May 2014, and counsel told the court that, had the treatment been better when Shane was in the hospital, there may have been a different outcome.

    It was also claimed there was an alleged failure to adequately investigate Shane Junior’s mental state prognosis.

    The claims were denied.

     Approving the settlements, Mr Justice Cross sympathised with the Skeffington family and said it was a sad and tragic case.

    The settlement is without admission of liability and the terms of the settlement are confidential.



  • Hospital consultants have warned that public hospitals are in a state of crisis.

    The IHCA has welcomed an interview from former HSE director general Tony O'Brien in the Sunday Business Post this morning.

    In it, he warns that the difficulty recruiting and retaining consultants is preventing the provision of care to patients.

    Tony O'Brien also says in the interview that it's "entirely possible" the number of people on trolleys this winter will hit one thousand.

    And he believes that without "significant moves", there's no doubt that there will be an "existential crisis" in hospital capacity.

  • The HSE has apologised for failures identified in a review of paediatric audiology services in Mayo and Roscommon and has committed to sharing the review report with the families affected today.

    General Manager of the HSE West, Tony Canavan said “on behalf of the HSE, I would like to offer a sincere apology for the failures identified”.

    Parents of the children affected have been invited to meet with a senior manager and a senior audiologist to discuss the findings of the report and they will be updated on their child’s care,” he said.

    The HSE carried out a review of audiology services in counties Mayo and Roscommon between April 2011 and February 2015 following concerns raised by the assistant national clinical lead in audiology. It said the concerns related to one audiologist who no longer works in the audiology services.

    Of the 995 cases examined, 49 children have been found to be affected. Thirteen children were re-referred into the service following concerns and were retested and identified as having a hearing loss.

    Sixteen children with hearing aids received hearing aid management that deviated significantly from recommendations set out in the National Audiology Review group Report (2011). Twenty children who were recalled and retested were identified with a new hearing loss.

    The HSE say the 49 children affected are all currently receiving or have already received the appropriate care.

    Tony Canavan says the priority now is to bring the outcome of the audit to the attention of the parents involved and to provide them an opportunity to have any questions they might have answered. To this end, the review report will be shared with the families affected today.”

  • Almost 60 families in the West of Ireland have received apologies in recent weeks for failings in audiology services provided to their children.

    It is the second time in less than a year that the HSE has had to apologise for audiology failings.

    Last year, an RTÉ Investigates programme revealed serious failings in paediatric audiology services provided to another 49 children in counties Mayo and Roscommon, some of whom were left with lifelong impairments. 

    The findings were contained in a look-back review of care provided by one audiologist from 2011 to 2015, who no longer works in the Republic of Ireland. 

    However, it's now emerged that, in recent months, the HSE has written to an additional 57 families to inform them they have also been affected. As before, all these children had attended the same audiologist. 

    It is understood that the additional 57 cases will now form part of a second look-back review – however, families have not been given any indication as to how long that process will take. 

    The HSE has explained that the original look-back review related to children aged under four, and it was as part of that process some children aged over four years were also found to have been "discharged from the service without a follow up appointment." 

    But it says to date "no moderate or major incidents" have been identified. 




  • On one evening last April, seven ambulances were backed up at Mayo University Hospital waiting  to get their patients admitted to the emergency dept of the hospital. The situation was highlighted here on Midwest News by local Independent councillor Michael Kilcoyne.

     The councillor is a member of the HSE West and earlier this week he received clarification from HSE management about the longest delay for a patient and an ambulance crew on that particular evening at the hospital.

    HSE management apologised for the delays that had occurred with the longest delay for patient and ambulance crew registering in excess of 5 hours.

     Cllr Kilcoyne told Midwest News today that the situation is completely unacceptable



    The HSE has apologised unreservedly to three women for failings in care they received while they were in foster care in Co Galway between 2005 and 2007.

    A report on last night’s Prime Time programme heard calls for  an investigation into the case of the three girls, who were abused at a foster home near Dunmore.

    The victims also said they are distraught at what they see as the lenient sentence given to their abuser.

    The women waived their right to anonymity to name their abuser as 29-year-old Keith Burke of Addergoolemore, Dunmore, Co Galway.

    Initially, he was charged with over 70 counts of rape and buggery of three young foster girls in the home he shared with them.

    This was reduced to 39 sample charges when the case came to court and the man was found guilty on 23 charges.

    Earlier this month, Keith Burke was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison, with a year suspended, after he was found guilty of raping the then three foster children between 2003 and 2007.

    All three girls were under ten years of age at the time.

    Ronan Hynes - solicitor for one of the victims - has now called for the entire case to be investigated.

    In a statement last night, the HSE said that - while no apology can undo the harm inflicted on the three girls - it is important that the HSE expresses a heartfelt apology at this time.

    The HSE has been in contact with Tusla to discuss how best to determine whether this case raises any concerns for HSE-delivered services today.

    The ISPCC has commended the women involved in this case for coming forward to tell their story, and says it’s important that – when abuse happens- children are listened to and their claims acted on swiftly.

    The ISPCC says if there is any suspicion of abuse or any risk of harm to a child in foster care, it’s essential that steps are taken to protect that child and any other children in the placement.

    CEO Grainia Long also says it’s important that everyone involved in child protection can be fully confident in the foster care system, but over the past year, Tusla services have consistently failed to meet HIQA standards, and the ongoing breaches in standards of foster care must be addressed.

  • 521 patients are being treated on trolleys at hospitals across the country.

    Cork University Hospital is the worst affected facility, with 56 people waiting for beds, according to the INMO.

    That's followed by 50 at both University Hospital Galway and University Hospital Limerick.

    Despite the ongoing trolley crisis, and at a time when frontline hospital staff are struggling to maintain services, the HSE is appointing the equivalent of two new managers every week.

    That's according to Mayo Fianna Fail TD Lisa Chambers.

    She has figures from the HSE which show that 51 staff at higher and middle management were appointed in the second half of last year - which is an average of two managers per week being appointed, while she claims that on hospital wards, there are not enough nurses and doctors to keep the service operational....

  • The HSE's Capital Spending Plan for the next three years has been published today.

    The plan covers 2019 to 2021, at a cost of over €2 billion.

    The publication of the HSE's Capital Plan was delayed as a result of the over-run in the cost of the new National Children's Hospital, however, it's understood no projects face cancellation or delays, despite the over-run.

    In Mayo, funding is being provided for additional bed capacity at Mayo University Hospital, as well as electrical upgrade works at the hospital.

    Elsewhere across the region, the capital plan includes funding for the new Rehabilitation Unit at Roscommon University Hospital, and a 50-bed upgrade of the Sacred Heart Community Nursing Unit in Roscommon.


    In Galway, funding has been announced for the long-awaited new Emergency Department and Maternity Unit at University Hospital Galway and a new elective hospital at Merlin Park in Galway to reduce waiting times and overcrowding.

    The plan also includes a new ambulance base in Galway city, while the mortuary at UHG will undergo major refurbishment works, and there's funding for the development of a blood science laboratory.

  • The HSE have confirmed that the successful candidate for the post of GP in Bangor Erris / Glenamoy must accept the offer by this Friday.

    There has been fears in recent months over the future GP services in the area.

    The HSE say the post of GP has been offered to the number one candidate on the panel for Bangor Erris and Glenamoy.

    This follows numerous efforts by the HSE to recruit a GP for both Bangor Erris and Glenamoy independently, which proved unsuccessful due to a lack of interest in either post.

    The initial offer for the Bangor Erris / Glenamoy post was made on Monday February 17th with a further communication from the HSE on Friday February 21st requesting a decision by close of business this coming Friday.

    If the successful candidate accepts the post, it is intended that he/she will start immediately.

    The HSE say they intend to continue to provide services from existing locations, however say they cannot comment on the contractual arrangements of non HSE staff.

    Erris based Sinn Fein TD Rose Conway-Walsh says she has written back to the HSE that is really important that both clinics are left as they are.

    Deputy Conway-Walsh is hoping to get reassurance from the HSE.

  • 27 patients had surgical procedures postponed earlier this month at Mayo University Hospital, due to a faulty water pump in the hospital's sterile services department.

    This also meant that surgical implements had to be sent to other hospitals in Galway and Sligo over the course of a week, as there was no water supply to the sterile service department at the Castlebar hospital -again due to the faulty water pump.

    The issue was raised at this week's meeting of the HSE Regional Forum, where Castlebar-based Independent Councillor Michael Kilcoyne questioned management on the impact of the incident, and how many patients had procedures cancelled or postponed as a result.

    Councillor Kilcoyne says there should be a back-up plan in place, for when such problems occur at a major hospital...

  • The HSE has confirmed that the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea is to close.

    The unit accommodates 12 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.

    However, a strong campaign has been underway in Castlerea for several years to keep the unit open, for the current residents and to provide care into the future for those with psychiatric needs.

    Independent assessments have been carried out recently on the residents, and their families have today received letters from HSE Community Healthcare West Chief Officer Tony Canavan, which says the review of the clinical assessments concludes that the current residents do not require continuing in-patient psychiatric care.

    Therefore "the Rosalie Unit will cease to function as a community psychiatric unit". and the letter says a transition plan will be put in place to arrange alternative care for each of the residents

    News of the closure was announced to staff in Castlerea this morning.

    However, a son of the one of the residents in the Rosalie Unit says the battle is not yet over.

    Liam Walsh, who's mother Breda has been a patient there for the past ten years, told Midwest News that it's a dark day for the residents, their families and staff at the unit, as well as the wider community....

  • The HSE hired 34 mental health staff this year, despite having a shortfall of over 2,400.


    The Health Service estimates that it would cost 194 million euro per year to increase the number of staff to the recommended level.


    Kildare and parts of Dublin and Wicklow had less than half the staff required to adequately serve the population.


    Fianna Fail Deputy James Brown, who obtained the figures from the HSE, says the Government isn't prioritising mental health.

  • Following on from the Cervical Check controversy, it's been confirmed that 26 cases are being dealt with involving women from counties Mayo, Galway and Roscommon.

    The figure was provided at yesterday's meeting of the HSE Regional Forum in Galway, where Galway-based FG Councillor Padraig Conneely questioned HSE management on what number of cases have been settled in the West, and how many are still pending.

    He also asked for details on whether these cases are being settled out of court, and said the patients involved should have their cases settled quickly.

    Management did not provide the details Councillor Conneely requested in relation to individual cases, but did confirm that there are 26 women involved across three counties in the West.

  • The HSE has made a € 5m settlement to the family of a boy with cerebral palsy in a case taken over the handling of his birth at Sligo General Hospital.

    The case, which was settled without an admission of liability, was taken by his mother Lisa Carpenter from Coolaney, Co. Sligo.

    Kyle Carpenter was born three weeks early on May 3rd 2009.

    His mother Lisa went to hospital two days beforehand complaining of stomach pain but she was reassured everything was normal.

    The pain continued after she went home but she experienced no pain when she woke up on May 3rd and couldn't feel any movement.

    She was advised to go back to hospital and a CTG scan taken at 1.30 gave cause for concern.

    Despite that, she claimed a decision to deliver the baby wasn't made for another hour and Kyle required resuscitation and intubation when he was eventually delivered at 3.37.

    He has since been diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

    The HSE contested liability and the case was due to go to a full hearing before it was settled out of court today with no admission of liability.

    In approving the € 5m settlement, Mr. J Kevin Cross described the case as "complex" and one, he said, that would have had an uncertain outcome for the family had it gone to a full hearing.


  • HSE nursing homes in Co Mayo are being paid 61% more to provide care per person than their private and voluntary counterparts, new figures published by the HSE reveal. The HSE published the fees payable to its nursing homes under the Fair Deal scheme on 23rd February, following on from a 16-month delay.  

    Private and voluntary nursing homes are required to negotiate the fees payable to them under the Fair Deal scheme with the NTPF, acting on behalf of the State. However, the fees payable to HSE nursing homes are not subject to negotiation or oversight, with the HSE being the budget-holder and payee.

    The published fees inform the average fee payable to the six HSE nursing homes in Co Mayo is €1,390 per person, per week at February 2018. The average fee payable per person to the 17 private and voluntary nursing homes operating within the county, as of 14th February 2018, is €860 per person, per week. This reveals a 61% differential in the average fees payable in respect of residents between HSE nursing homes in County Mayo and private and voluntary counterparts.

    Nationally, HSE nursing home fees are paid an average 60% above those payable in respect of residents in private and voluntary nursing homes.

  • The HSE has reported a sharp rise in the number of cases of mumps following a major outbreak of the illness in the north-west.

    A total of 18 cases of the contagious disease have been reported since Monday according to the Irish Independent.

    This brings the total number of cases in the region to 93.

    A spokesperson for the HSE says they have been mainly in the Sligo town area and south Donegal, but there are also some cases in north Donegal.

    Symptoms include fever, headache and swollen, tender salivary glands.

    The HSE stressed that all children and young adults should have two MMR doses.

  • 100 people die from smoking every week in Ireland, according to the HSE.

    It's research for World No Tobacco Day, found 1 in 4 men and 1 in 5 women still smoke.

    It's most common among young people but there are now more quitters than smokers here.

    But the HSE's Dr Paul Kavanagh says more needs to be done to encourage quitting.