• Health clinics nationwide are facing a personnel crisis due to the retirement of up to 700 GPs over the next seven years.


    The Irish Patients' Association says up to five percent of clinics could close, forcing patients to travel greater distances.


    Stephen McMahon, from the IPA, says new doctors are also being tempted away from Ireland by attractive packages abroad.

  • The HSE has confirmed that a locum GP will in place, from today for the next three months in the Mayo village of Laherdane.

    A local action group was formed last month following a public meeting, to highlight concerns over the lack of GP cover in Laherdane.

    The local committee has been liaising in recent weeks with HSE officials and public representatives, and DR Paul Davis, PEO for the Laherdane GP Action Group has confirmed to Midwest News today that a locum GP will be in place from the start of September for the next 3 months.

    The HSE also confirmed that the permanent position has been offered to a GP.

    This offer expires in two weeks time, and if the position has not been accepted by then, it will be readvertised immediately.



  • A Mayo Councillor has asked how patients can be discharged from hospital during the night when the consultant - who makes the ultimate decision to discharge a patient - may be at home in their bed.

    The issue was raised at the monthly meeting of the HSE Regional Forum, when Castlebar Independent Councillor Michael Kilcoyne asked for clarification on who ultimately makes the decision to discharge a patient.

    He was informed by HSE management that the decision is made by a consultant.

    Councillor Kilcoyne says it's unfair that patients, who often live alone, are sent home from hospital in the middle of the night.

    He also claims patients are often moved to district hospitals without prior consultation with their families.

  • One of the primary care centres in Mayo is now in private ownership, which has prompted a Ballinrobe-based councillor to raise questions about the ownership of the centres that were built with public funds.

    It’s emerged that investment firm Valley Healthcare has acquired one of the primary care centres in Mayo, but it’s not known which one.

    Valley Healthcare is now in control of four primary care centres – in Mayo, Wickow, Kerry and Cork, and are operating them under a 25-year lease from the HSE.

    The firm aims to take over up to 20 primary care centres nationally over the next 3 years.

    Councillor Damien Ryan, a member of the HSE Regional Forum, is putting down a question for the forum’s next meeting, requesting that the HSE identify the primary care centre in Co Mayo now owned by Valley Healthcare.

    Councillor Ryan says there are concerns about privatising primary care centres, which were built with public monies, and he says there’s some confusion over the ownership of these centres going forward…

  • With just days to go to the Budget, the families of children with SMA - Spinal Muscular Atrophy - are making a final plea to Government to sanction the drug Spinraza, which they believe will halt the progression of the rare genetic condition.

     SMA affects 25 families nationally, including two families in Co Mayo.

    It's estimated it would cost in the region of €3 million per year to provide the drug for these 25 children, but to date, the Government has not sanctioned its approval.

    Health Minister Simon Harris is waiting for a recommendation from the HSE, but the families involved say a decision is needed now, as the childrens' conditions are getting progressively worse.



  • A Mayo Fianna Fail TD has highlighted a worrying increase in the number of people waiting for urology appointments in hospitals across the country.

    Fianna Fail Deputy Leader Dara Calleary says figures released to him show that there were almost 30,000 people on the outpatient waiting list at the end of August, with over 10,500 patients waiting more than a year to see a doctor. Galway University Hospital, along with Tallaght Hospital and University Hospital Waterford have the longest waiting lists for this particular speciality.

    Deputy Calleary says that while some progress has been made with inpatient procedures, as a result of additional funding secured by Fianna Fail for the National Treatment Purchase Fund, the outpatient scenario is extremely worrying.

  • Mayo Roscommon Hospice is now awaiting written confirmation from the HSE that full funding will be in place to open the new multimillion euro new Castlebar Hospice facility before the end of this year.

    Thursday next, is national Hospice Coffee morning, and the Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation is hoping that 250 coffee mornings will take place next week in homes, work place,and community centres in this region.

    All the monies raised for the Mayo Roscommon Hospice goes towards the hospice services in homes in both counties and towards the new hospice building completed in Castlebar, and a new facility to go to construction phase by next year in Roscommon town.

    Martina Jennings is the CEO of the Mayo Roscommon Hospice hada huge turnout at an open day last Thursday at the new Castlebar facility to mark Hospice coffee day 2019.

  • The head of the HSE has stepped down just hours after refusing to resign over the CervicalCheck scandal.

    Tony O'Brien informed the Health Minister last night admitting that there were failures in telling women about incorrect smear test results.

    Yesterday it emerged the HSE was told two years ago that women could go to the media over the scandal.

    Mr O’Brien’s resignation has also been welcomed by Mayo Sinn Fein Senator Rose Conway-Walsh.

    She says that from the moment the revelations started about CervicalCheck, his position was untenable.

    Senator Conway-Walsh says the news yesterday that there were three memos outlining the fact that they knew within the HSE about these failures but kept that information from the women involved and their doctors, is unacceptable. 

    She told Midwest News this morning that people need to be held accountable in this scandal.

  • Mayo TD Lisa Chambers has expressed concern over low staffing levels in the Mayo University Hospital’s Maternity Ward.


    There are currently 10 fulltime staff vacancies at the maternity Ward and a 2014 government review found that the hospital was 5 staff below recommended levels.


    The Fianna Fáil TD has called on the Minster for Health and the HSE to address the staffing levels and wants five additional staff added to the ten that have already been approved.

  • A Mayo TD is calling on the Ministers for Health & Finance to work with SIPTU to try and avoid tomorrow' strike by health support staff.

    10,000 hospital staff will take part in a 24-hour strike tomorrow, with further strikes planned for the coming weeks, in a row over pay.

    Healthcare assistants, porters and catering staff are among the SIPTU workers taking the action.

    Mayo, Galway, Sligo and Roscommon University Hospitals will be impacted by the strike, as well as Merlin Park and Portiuncla Hospitals.

    Thousands of patients scheduled for surgery could have their appointments cancelled tomorrow, and there are also fears that some hospitals won't be able to provide regular meals and hot food to patients.

    The HSE says contingency plans are in place, but warns the strike will have a significant impact on services if it goes ahead.

    Mayo Fianna Fail Deputy Lisa Chambers says the hospital support staff are frustrated, because the Government is failing to follow through on a commitment made in advance of carrying out a job evaluation scheme.


    And Mayo Sinn Fein Senator Rose Conway-Walsh has also called for the implementation of pay agreements for the hospital support staff, who she says "hold our health service together".

    Senator Conway-Walsh says these workers are on some of the lowest wages within the healthcare system, and should not have to wait so long for pay that's due to them.





  • Mayo Fianna Fail TD Dara Calleary raised the future of the five day service at the Mayo Alzheimer’s Centre in Castlebar in the Dail last night.

    It was revealed in the past couple of weeks that Alzheimers Ireland is being forced to reduce services at the Mayo Centre in Castlebar from five days to three days and to curtail transport services to the centre from the end of this month.

    Alzheimer’s Ireland has to do this because the HSE has not increased financial support to the centre.

    Deputy Calleary says the response from the HSE to the issue last night was cold hearted in his opinion and showed no empathy for the services users and their families.

    The matter was dealt with by Minister for Older People Jim Daly and he has committed to looking at the situation himself, to see if there is anything he can do.

  • A Mayo TD wants extra capacity immediately in the Cervical Check scheme, to deal with the backlog that is currently there.

    Mayo Fianna Fail Deputy Lisa Chambers was speaking after the revelations that up to 6,000 women are likely to be called for a retest after an issue at Quest Laboratories arose last November.

    The problem relates to standard HPV tests being carried out outside of the manufacturers recommended timeframe.

    The HSE has assured women who need a repeat smear following the issue, that they will be prioritised.

    Deputy Chambers broke the news of the latest issue with Cervical Check, following investigations which she began last November. Deputy Chambers is one of the women waiting on retest results for an extended period of time.

    As well as additional capacity, Deputy Chambers wants Minister for Health Simon Harris to come into the Dail and give answers on this latest controversy.

  • Mayo University Hospital in Castlebar, University Hospital Sligo and Galway University Hospital are  among the 13 hospitals nationally  where women were not informed of a delay in their cervical cancer diagnosis

    The HSE confirmed yesterday that 162 women – including 17 who have died ,are caught up in the latest cancer screening controversy.

    A review conducted by the HSE confirmed 208 women should have received earlier intervention than they did but only 46 individuals were made aware of this.

    The examination, conducted by national director of quality assurance at the HSE Patrick Lynch, confirmed 17 of these women have died. The cause of their deaths is not known.

    Mr Lynch said he could not state if these women were informed of the delayed diagnosis before they died but insisted their next of kin would be contacted by today at the very latest.

    All of the other women affected would also be informed by today and given an appointment with a clinician free of charge.

    HSE director-general Tony O’Brien apologised to all of the women involved and to their families for the “completely unacceptable” practices.

    This morning the government is expected to ask the health watchdog HIQA today to investigate the scandal and the way it was handled by the HSE.

    Health Minister Simon Harris will also bring forward proposals to Cabinet today to make it mandatory for doctors to have to tell patients about things that may affect them.

  • More than 75% of the woman affected by the CervicalCheck controversy are now cancer free.

    According to HSE data, at least 165 of the 221 women diagnosed at stage two or earlier, now have no evidence of the active disease.

    However 21 of the 221 women have died, and 14 are still undergoing treatment, and their prognosis has not been shared.

    The figures also show a small number of women did not actually have cervical cancer at all.

  • The HSE has again apologised to almost families in counties Mayo and Roscommon for serious failings in audiology services provided to their children.

    Earlier this month, it emerged that the HSE carried out a review of services provided in the two counties from 2011 to 2015  as a result of concerns around some aspects of the quality of the service provided.

    Some children were left with lifelong impairments after the review of services provided in more than 900 cases.

    It was understood that one audiologist was involved who worked in the Mayo / Roscommon area for over ten years, providing services to young children.

    However, at yesterday's meeting of the HSE Regional Forum in Galway, FG Councillor Padraig Conneely called for the audiologist involved to be named and shamed.

    But HSE management then informed the councillor that it wasn't down to one individual - rather there were two contractual services involved.

    Councillor Conneely told Midwest News that this revelation raises further concerns....

  • Nearly 600 cases of mumps have been reported in Ireland so far this year.

    The latest figures from the HSE mean there's been more cases of the highly-contagious disease than all of 2018.

    Most of the cases are in teenagers and young adults, while men have had 54 percent of diagnoses so far.

    The figures show that in the Western region there were 96 cases reported, while in the North Western region there were 66.


  • Nearly half a million people missed hospital outpatient appointments last year, that's around 1,300 people a day.

    The HSE figures released to the Irish Times shows that almost 20 percent were related to STIs and 18 percent were psychiatry appointments.

    Nearly one fifth of patients failed to show up at Mayo University hospital last year, while St James's in Dublin had 17% no shows.

    It comes as the HSE struggles to cut waiting lists in hospitals around the country.

  • A new audit of women affected by the Cervical Check controversy has been commissioned by the HSE.

    It's due to a the low consent rate among the 221 plus women caught up in the controversy who were willing to participate in a government review by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the UK.

    According to the Irish Times, only 31 percent were found to be taking part.

    The HSE is to create a healthcare team to carry out new audit, which it says it hopes will be complete by Christmas.

  • There's no indication when the ambulance service in the Co Roscommon village of Loughglynn will be extended to a 24-hour service.

    The issue was raised again at this week's HSE Regional Forum meeting by local Councillor Micheal Creaton, who asked management for an update on plans to extend the ambulance base to a round-the-clock service.

    Management said they're hoping to recruit 6 people for the ambulance by next month, but this would only be to provide a service during the day.

    Councillor Creaton says it's disappointing that there's no indication of when the ambulance base will operate on a 24-hour basis.

  • There are no plans by the HSE to construct a multi-story car park at Mayo University Hospital in Castlebar, despite the ongoing problem for patients and visitors accessing the hospital.

    That was confirmed by HSE management to Castlebar Independent councillor Michael Kilcoyne in response to a question submitted to a recent meeting of the HSE West forum.

    Despite almost 330,000 euro in net income from the carparking charges at the hospital last year (2017), and the constant raising by local councillors of the difficulties in elderly or disabled people accessing the facility from the car parking facilities available, the HSE has no plans to provide alternative parking.