Saolta Hospital Group

  • 130 children were treated in hospitals across the West & northwest last year for drug and alcohol-related illnesses.

    Figures released under Freedom of Information show 81 girls and 49 boys were treated at hospitals in the Saolta Group for conditions related to drink and drugs - including drug or alcohol poisoning, a mental disorder due to substance misuse, and new-born children affected by their mothers' use of drugs or alcohol.

     Of the 49 boys who received hospital treatment, over half were under the age of 9, while 64 of the 81 girls who needed treatment were aged between 10 and 17.

  • The CEO of the Saolta Hospital Group is seeking a High Court order aimed at preventing the health service executive removing him from his role.

    Maurice Power, CEO of the Saolta group which runs public hospitals in Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo & Donegal has brought proceedings against the HSE.

    Mr Power, of Homefarm, Moycullen, Co Galway has been the group's CEO since October 2014, allegedly on an interim basis, having previously held several other positions within the public health service.

    He's seeking various orders, including an injunction preventing the HSE from terminating his employment as the group's CEO.

    The Irish Times reports that the action opened before Mr Justice Senan Allen yesterday.

    Mr Power claims he's entitled to a contract of indefinite duration in respect of his role, and says the HSE has acted wrongfully and in breach of his contract of employment.

    The action arose after the HSE started the process of recruiting a CEO for the Saolta Hospital Group, which has more than 10,000 staff and an annual budget of over €850 million.

    Maurice Power applied for the job and was called to a preliminary interview, but not to the second round of interviews.

    He has appealed the decision not to include him in the second round, and has also lodged a claim with the Workplace Relations Commission, claiming he was wrongfully forced to apply for his own role.

    The HSE denies the claims and is opposing the application for an injunction.

    The HSE argues that Mr Power does not have a contract of indefinite duration for the position of group CEO, and says his employment has not been terminated as he will return to the role he previously held as Chief Financial Officer.

    The hearing continues.


  • The CEO of the Saolta Hospital Group says there are very serious concerns about the number of critical cases of the coronavirus.

    3,235 people now have the infection here and 71 people have lost their lives.

    113 patients are in ICU and there are 24 clusters in nursing homes nationwide.

    Tony Canavan says while the number of deaths is very low in the West at the moment he says we are heading for a very difficult week.

    Mr. Canavan the spread of the virus in nursing homes is of huge concern and admits delays in testing is still a huge problem.

  • The HSE is warning people to expect 'significant interruption' to health services again next week.

    It says the situation has improved a little, with some computer systems working again after the ransomware attack, but many services remain cancelled.

    Up to 30,000 appointments have been cancelled in seven hospitals across the west and north-west over the past three weeks.

    Tony Canavan, Chief Executive of the Saolta Hospital Group, says the disruption will continue into next week.


  • The HSE is warning patients to expect 'widespread cancellations' of hospital appointments again next week.

    Some computer systems have been restored after the cyber-attack almost 2 weeks ago, but most have not.

    Emergency departments are still very busy due to the loss of IT equipment, while hospital, community and screening services are still affected.

    The HSE's chief operations officer, Anne O'Connor, says the disruption will continue for a long time.

    The Saolta Hospital Group in the West is cancelling about 20,000 appointments as a result of the ransomware attack.

    Tony Canavan, chief executive of the Saolta Group which manages seven hospitals in the region including Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo and Galway University Hospitals, says a number of services are affected......

  • Nine coronavirus testing centres will be opened across the West of Ireland by the end of this week.

    A testing centre is up and running in recent days at the new swimming pool complex in Castlebar, and a number of centres are in operation in Galway, including at the sports centre in Renmore.

    CEO of the Saolta Hospital Group Tony Canavan says they're aiming to have a total of 9 testing centres available across the region by tomorrow evening, and more centres will be opened if needed in the coming weeks.

    Testing for coronavirus is by appointment only, and people must be referred for the test by their GP.

    Tony Canavan says anyone who may have symptoms of the virus should first check the HSE website, and then contact their GP who may refer them to a local testing centre......

  • Staff at Mayo University Hospital do not treat patients with Covid-19 as well as non-Covid patients. That's according to a statement from the Saolta Hospital Group, which was sent to Midwest News yesterday evening, following ongoing concerns expressed by staff at the hospital, local public representatives and the general public that the crossover of staff was continuing at the hospital.

    Yesterday, the Cathaoirleach of the Castlebar Municipal District, Councillor Michael Kilcoyne called for HIQA to investigate the practices at the Castlebar hospital, claiming he was unable to get answers to a number of questions he had posed to hospital management.

    It followed claims by nursing staff at the hospital as late as last week that staff were working with both Covid and non-Covid patients.

    This latest response from Saolta outlines that there are two pathways of care in Mayo University Hospital - one for patients with Covid-19 or suspected cases, and the other for non-Covid patients.

    Each pathway has separate wards, separate emergency departments and separate intensive care units.

    The statement concludes by saying that "staff do not treat patients with Covid-19 as well as non-Covid 19 patients".

  • The head of the Saolta Hospital Group believes the country has passed the peak of the third wave of Covid-19.

    Latest figures show there are 1,368 patients in public hospitals with the virus - compared to a peak across the health system of 2,020 over two weeks ago.

    207 people were in ICU overnight.

    In this region, there are currently 52 Covid patients being treated at Mayo University Hospital - down from 62 on Monday.

    48 patients with Covid are being treated at Galway University Hospital, 39 at Sligo University Hospital and 6 at Portiuncla in Ballinasloe - all of these hospitals have seen a reduction in the number of Covid patients over the past 2 days.

    Tony Canavan, chief executive of the Saolta Group, says there's been an improvement in the hospitals in the west of Ireland..


  • The number of patients with Covid-19 being treated in hospitals across the West is decreasing, according to the Saolta Hospital Group.

    Nationally, there are now 1,368 people with the virus in public hospitals - compared to over 2,000 two weeks ago.

    In this region, there are currently 52 Covid patients being treated at Mayo University Hospital - down from 62 on Monday - with 3 of these patients in ICU.

    48 Covid patients are being treated at University Hospital Galway, 39 at Sligo University Hospital and 6 at Portiuncla in Ballinasloe - all of these hospitals have seen a reduction in the number of Covid patients in recent days.

    The number of hospital staff absent due to Covid has also declined significantly over the past two weeks, according to Tony Canavan, CEO of the Saolta Hospital Group, while the vaccination of front-line hospital staff is continuing across the region.

    Tony Canavan told Midwest News that, while January was a very grim month for hospital staff, there are now signs that we've passed the peak of the 3rd wave of the virus....

  • The Saolta Hospital Group has issued a statement to Midwest News this evening, stating that Mayo University Hospital "has implemented a range of infection prevention and control practices to manage suspect and confirmed Covid-19 patients and reduce Covid infection rates among patients and staff".

    The statement outlines how patients are streamed into Covid and non-Covid pathways since mid-March, and says that, while every effort is made to ensure patients are streamed separately, occasionally it will happen that a person in a non-Covid space will turn out to be positive as he or she may not have shown any symptoms.

    The hospital has also separated its clinical staff into teams to minimise contact between staff and reduce the risk of infection.

    While not addressing our question directly about crossover of staff treating Covid and non-Covid patients, the statement says Saolta is assured that "the appropriate control measures are currently in place in Mayo University Hospital in relation to the management of Covid 19".

    Midwest News also questioned Saolta today about an email sent by hospital management to staff in mid-March, warning that disciplinary action would be taken if any staff member was to breach patient confidentiality.

    Councillor Christy Hyland today criticised the tone of the email, which he described as "threatening".

    The Saolta group said this evening that, at the time of the first confirmed case of Covid-19 in the Castlebar hospital, and in the context of numerous queries coming into the hospital, an email was circulated to staff to remind everyone of their responsibility to maintain patient confidentiality, and ensure that no information relating to any patient was shared externally, on social media or in any other way.

    Management says "the message reflected the seriousness of any breach of confidentiality by a healthcare worker".

  • There are 133 people with Covid-19 being treated today at University Hospital Galway and 93 at Mayo University Hospital.

    This includes 17 patients in intensive care at the Galway hospital, and 3 at Mayo University Hospital.

    As reported on Midwest News yesterday, the HSE has joined forces with Gardai and the Galway City & County Councils to urge the public to redouble their efforts to halt the spread of the virus.

    2,688 new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Co Galway in the past two weeks, and the high numbers are resulting in ongoing pressure on services at University Hospital Galway.

    There are plans in place to expand ICU capacity at the hospital for patients who need critical care, with 7 surge levels, and the hospital is now at level 3 according to the CEO of the Saolta Hospital Group Tony Canavan.

    He expects the upward trajectory of the third wave of the virus to continue for another number of days, before numbers in hospital will start to reduce next month - if they reduce in the community.

    Mr Canavan said there has been a steady increase in Covid admissions to University Hospital Galway since the start of the New Year, and says the easing of Covid restrictions in early December, more socialising over Christmas and the new strains of the virus are all significant factors in the third wave.


  • Visiting restrictions remain in place at hospitals across the Saolta Group - including Mayo and Sligo University Hospitals, University Hospital Galway and Merlin Park, Portiuncla Hospital in Ballinasloe and Roscommon University Hospital.

    The visiting restrictions were introduced last Friday and will continue this week, as an infection control measure.

    Members of the public are asked not to visit hospitals across the Saoltas group, other than end-of-life situations, and other exceptional circumstances, as agreed with the ward manager in advance of visiting.

    Children in particular should not visit patients in hospital.

    Nursing homes across the West are also severely curtailing visitors.