• Health services across the country will experience major disruption again this morning, as 37,000 nurses and midwives take to the picket line.

    A government offer of talks has been roundly rejected by their union, the INMO, as the discussions wouldn't address their pay claims.

    37,000 INMO nurses will walk off the job and onto the picket line for a second day from 8am over their dispute with the government on pay and staff shortages.

    A suggestion by Ministers Simon Harris and Paschal Donohue for talks on issues other than pay has been dismissed as "spin masquerading as substance" by the INMO. 

    Up to 50,000 people will be affected by the action.

    All outpatient appointments, surgeries and routine community nursing activities are cancelled.

    Local injury units, and nurse-led day centres for older people and those with disabilities are closed.

    The advice is to stay away from emergency departments. 

    The HSE's mental health services face disruption too, as the Psychiatric Nurses Association are extending an overtime ban tomorrow and Thursday in their own row over pay and working conditions.

    With unions and government entrenched in their views, it seems a breakthrough is a long way off.

    The Saolta University Health Care Group says today’s industrial action planned by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation will have a significant impact on patient services across all of their hospitals.

    The Saolta Group comprises of hospitals in this region including Mayo University Hospital.

    The industrial action is planned to take place at all public hospitals, healthcare facilities and community healthcare services from this morning 8am tomorrow morning.

    The Saolta Group say they are continuing to work with the INMO on arrangements for the day to ensure safe service provision; however scheduled services are cancelled.

    All Out Patient, Inpatient and Day Surgery appointments are cancelled and Roscommon University Hospital Injury Unit is also closed today.

    If a patient’s procedure is going ahead, the relevant hospital will be in contact directly with the patient to let them know.


  • Almost all frontline Health Care workers in the Saolta Hospital group have now been vaccinated against Covid 19, and the remaining staff, just over 1000 people, will be vaccinated by the end of this month.

    The group has responsibility for hospitals across the west and north west region.

    These numbers were confirmed this afternoon by CEO of the Saolta group, Tony Canavan.

    Mr Canavan addressed today’s virtual HSE West Forum meeting.

  • 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.

  • The number of patients on trolleys at hospitals nationwide has dropped, after record numbers over the past two days.

    Latest figures from the INMO show 621 people are waiting for beds today, down from 760 for the past two days.

    University Hospital Limerick remains the worst affected facility with 63 people on trolleys, followed by 46 at University Hospital Galway.

    There are 20 patients on trolleys today at Sligo University Hospital, 15 at Portiuncla in Ballinasloe and 9 at Mayo University Hospital.

    The INMO says this is day three of a 'severe' period of overcrowding, and the intolerable pressure placed on frontline staff and patients continues.

    The nursing union has put forward a 5-point plan to alleviate pressure, and says all of the actions they're proposing could be taken today, or by the end of the week at the latest.

    Meanwhile, as pressure continues on hospital Emergency Departments, the Saolta hospital group has confirmed that elective procedures are cancelled at hospitals across the West & northwest region - with the exception of a limited number of urgent cases.

  • The Emergency Department at University Hospital Galway is extremely busy this afternoon, with a large number of patients awaiting admission to the hospital. 

    In a statement Saolta University Hospital Group management apologised to patients and their families for these delays.

    The Full Capacity Protocol has been implemented and all efforts continue to be made to identify patients who are appropriate for discharge. 

    Management at the hospital would like to advise people who are attending the Emergency Department at University Hospital Galway today to expect significant delays.

    They have reminded the public that they encourage them to attend the Emergency Department only in the case of real emergencies and they should contact their GP or GP Out-of-Hours service in the first instance.

    University Hospital Galway again apologises to all patients and their families for any distress caused as a result of these delays.



  • Despite additional funding being allocated for the National Winter Health Plan, no additional beds will open this Winter at either Mayo or Galway University Hospital.

    That's according to the Chief Operations Officer with the Saolta Hospital Group.

    Additional funding of €647,000 was confirmed last week for the Saolta Group and Community Healthcare West jointly, to support improved patient care in hospitals and community services in the West.

    However, Ann Cosgrove, Chief Operations Officer for the Saolta group, has confirmed to Midwest News that this will not result in the opening of any additional acute beds in this region.

    She says the majority of the funding will go towards community services,  focused on helping patients avoid hospital where possible.


  • In response to a question from Midwest News yesterday on whether any relatives of staff at Mayo University Hospital received Covid19 vaccinations, Saolta, the group responsible for hospitals in this region, states it is not aware of and has no record of any vaccinations administered to hospital staff other than to the priority list.

    It goes on to say, the COVID-19 vaccination programme for hospital staff commenced in Mayo University Hospital on Wednesday 06 January.  In the first instance the vaccine was offered to hospital staff directly providing care to confirmed and suspect COVID-19 cases including ICU, the Emergency Department, the Covid Assessment Unit and the Covid wards. This includes support staff, porters and health and social care professionals along with clerical staff working in these areas also. Last week the vaccination programme was extended to include staff from the Community Healthcare West; the prioritisation of these staff was decided by Community Healthcare West.

    By the end of last week the hospital had administered over 860 vaccines. Vaccine clinics will continue to be scheduled according to the availability of the vaccine and all staff in the hospital will be offered the vaccine.  


  • University Hospital Galway is extremely busy today, resulting in pressure on bed availability in the hospital.

    The Saolta Hospital group says it regrets that patients are currently experiencing long waiting times to be admitted from the Emergency Department to an acute bed in the hospital.

    They have a high number of patients waiting for admission on trolleys in the ED and in both the Acute Medical Unit and Acute Surgical Unit, and apologise saying “we know these delays are very difficult for our patients and their families”.

    According to today’s INMO trolley watch figures there are 19 patients on trolleys today at Galway University Hospital.

    There are 22 patients on trolley at MUH today, and that’s down from 36 yesterday.

    27 patients are on trolleys waiting for admission to Sligo University Hospital today

    Saolta is reminding the public to only attend the Emergency Department (ED in the case of real emergencies. If your health problem is not an emerge  ncy you should contact your GP during normal surgery hours or the WestDoc GP Out of hours service, in the first instance.

  • Saolta has now clearly stated that at Mayo University Hospital Covid 19 and non covid 19 patients are not in the same wards and that there is no crossover of staff between patients with the virus and without it.

    Saolta issued the statement yesterday evening to Midwest News after it had been asked the same simple question for days, as well as numerous requests by Midwest News to speak to the CEO of Saolta,Tony Canavan.

    Aontu had submitted similar questions to Saolta and the party’s activist in Mayo Paul Lawless received a similar response yesterday evening.

    He told Midwest News todaythat it’s a very welcome clear statement, but insists further questions remain unanswered.

    While the small group of daily protesters at Market Square in Castlebar,who are demanding answers as to how the Castlebar hospital is managing covid and non covid patients, told Midwest News today that they will continue their protest this afternoon and into the future, because this statement from Saolta is not the answer to the concerns raised.

  • Saolta, the organisation in charge of hospitals across this region, now needs to come out and clarify to the public if crossover of staff at Mayo University Hospital between covid and non covid patients is continuing.

    That’s the view of Aontu member in Mayo Paul Lawless. He has sought under freedom of information requests, answers from Minister Harris and the department of health on the present practices at the Castlebar hospital.

    While Wesport based councillor Christy Hyland is critical of the tone of an e-mail sent by management at Mayo University Hospital to staff last March, which he claims is threatening in tone to any staff  member expressing public concerns about how the Covid 19 pandemic was being managed at the facility.

    Concern over crossover by staff between covid and non covid patients at the hospital was first raised on Midwest News over a month ago.

    The CEO of Saolta, Tony Canavan assured us at that time that while the practice had been happening, it had ceased. However, just last week there were claims that the practice is continuing.

    Midwest News sought clarification on the situation from Saolta a number of times last week and we are still awaiting a response.

    Meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases of Covid 19 in Mayo continues to rise, and is significantly higher than in other Connaught counties. It now stands at 568, compared to 458 in Galway, 318 in Roscommon, 129 in Sligo and 83 in Leitrim.

    Paul Lawless told Midwest News today that he has been contacted by many people who are afraid to attend Mayo university Hospital at present because of the lack of clarity around this issue and he says it needs to be immediately addressed by Saolta.

    While Independent Westport based councillor  Christy Hyland wants to know from Saolta why an email was sent by Hospital Management to staff last March, advising them not to break any patient confidentiality or publish on any social media how the hospital was being organised / managed.

    Cllr Hyland says the email was brought to his attention because of what he describes as “it’s threatening tone”

     Midwest News again contacted Saolta today and we are awaiting a response.

  • A number of surgical procedures have been postponed over the last few days at Mayo University Hospital, due to a problem with a water pump.

    The Saolta Hospital Group has confirmed to Midwest News that a problem with a water pump in the Hospital Sterile Services Department -which is the sterilisation facility for the surgical instruments used in theatre - has led to the deferral of some non-urgent surgeries.

    Hospital management say they prioritised emergency procedures, but a number of non-urgent surgeries were postponed.

    Staff in the hospital are working to rectify the problem with the water pump, and are working towards resuming services by tomorrow - Wednesday.

    This depends on the completion of re-commissioning the washers and sterilisers to ensure standards are met.

    The Saolta Hospital Group has apologised for the inconvenience this has caused to patients and their families, and says both Galway and Sligo University Hospitals have provided support to Mayo University Hospital in recent days to help manage the problem.