Tony Canavan

  • The availability of Covid 19 vaccines continues to be the most significant factor in the rate of rollout of the vaccine programme across the region and nationally. That was confirmed this afternoon by Saolta CEO, Tony Canavan.

    He was speaking to cllrs at the monthly virtual HSE West Regional forum meeting.

    There are now 5 large scale Vaccination Centres open across this region – at Ballybrit Race course in Galway, Breaffy House –Castlebar, the Abbey Hotel -Roscommon, and the IT’s in Sligo and Letterkenny.

    While, there are no figures specific to counties yet compiled by the HSE in relation to Covid incidence numbers and deaths.

    Mr Canavan said as of yesterday (Mon) 230,000 people nationally have contracted Covid 19 since the start of the pandemic, with the deaths of 4,588 people with the virus.

    He explained that there was a reduced numbers of covid 19 patients in hospitals nationally in February / early March . With 359 patients with the virus in hospital nationally today, and 80 of these patients are in ICU.

    He warned however, that over the past two weeks while hospital occupation with patients with the virus has stagnated, since the 10th March the improvement expected under Level 5 Restricions are not materialising.

    This week right across the country the focus group being vaccinated against the virus is Category 4  - that is people at very high risk due to their medical condition.  

    He concluded saying that he is hopeful that the number of vaccines available will improve significantly over the next two months.

  • 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......

  • The CEO of the Saolta University Healthcare Group says the focus remains that there is a clear pathway of care for people coming in to hospital.

    Tony Canavan says a lot of work has continued in the last week in response to the Coronavirus.

    There is currently 14 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Mayo and Mr. Canavan says at the moment there are no patients in ICU at the Castlebar based hospital.

    Mr. Canavan says Mayo University hospital is also looking at maximising their ICU capacity and also ensure there is good linkage between the hospitals in the West.


    Tony Canavan, CEO of the Saolta Group which has responsibility for the hospitals in the West and North West says they have seen a very significant increase in the number of patients hospitalised with COVID-19 in Mayo University Hospital.

    In one week from December 29th to January 4th the number of patients in Mayo University Hospital increased from 19 to over 50.  

    “It is inevitable that the higher level of COVID-19 infections in the community, the greater the pressure on the health services. The team at Mayo University Hospital are doing all they can to ensure that they can continue to treat both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients safely and quickly but they need the community in Mayo to play their part also and stick to the public health advice and stay home where possible to reduce the levels of COVID-19 in the community.”

  • Saolta management say they do not know how many patients at Mayo University Hospital have died with Covid 19 since the start of the pandemic.

    As of Monday of this week, 182 people in county Mayo have died with the virus since March of last year. However, at yesterday’s virtual HSE West Forum meeting, the CEO of the Saolta group Tony Canavan insisted that they cannot say how many of these people died at Mayo university Hospital.

    He admitted that some patients who had died with the virus, had tested negative for Covid 19 on admission to Mayo University Hospital and had subsequently tested positive for it. But he could not provide any figures on the number of such cases.

    Mr Canavan was responding to questions submitted in writing to the Forum by Castlebar Independent councillor Michael Kilcoyne.

    Cllr Kilcoyne had asked how many patients at Mayo University Hospital had died with Covid 19? How many had contracted the virus while a patient in the hospital, and if there were better facilities at the hospital would the death rate of patients have been lower?

    He failed to secure any direct answers to these questions and he says he is baffled and frustrated with the HSE West management’s responses. He believes the people of the county deserve direct answers to these questions and has called on Mayo TDs to seek the responses that have been denied to him as an elected councillor.

    Cllr Kilcoyne has been speaking to Midwest News Editor Teresa O’Malley....




  • 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....

  • 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 are in place in certain areas of Mayo University Hospital due to an outbreak of Covid-19 currently in the hospital.

    There are currently 16 patients with Covid being treated at the Castlebar hospital - the highest figure nationally.

    CEO of the Saolta hospital group Tony Canavan said a number of patients were identified with the virus over the weekend, as Ireland is hit by a 4th wave of the virus.

    There are 6 confirmed Covid cases at Sligo University Hospital, 12 in Letterkenny and 3 at Galway University Hospital.

    Speaking with Midwest Radio's Michael D McAndrew, Tony Canavan said the situation at Mayo University Hospital  reflects the increasing number of Covid-positive patients in hospitals across the region.....