Date Published: 10-Sep-2012
Galway’s two public hospitals have radically reduced their waiting lists for inpatient treatment since the start of the year – and management say they have managed to treat more patients with a significantly reduced budget.
Thousands of patients were facing having to wait nine months or more for hospital treatment in UHG and Merlin Park hospitals in January, but their numbers have been reduced to less than one-tenth of that total, with the aim being to have nobody waiting that long.
Management from Galway and Roscommon University Hospital Group met with Oireachtas and Regional Health Forum West members from Galway and Roscommon yesterday to provide an update on progress within the Group, which oversees the operation of the two city hospitals as well as Portiuncula in Ballinasloe and Roscommon County Hospital.
The Group’s CEO, Bill Maher, said that they had made “excellent progress” on service priorities set down at the start of the year.
“Our service priorities were to jointly improve patients’ access to the Emergency Departments and to meet the challenging Special Delivery Unit target for inpatient waiting lists which is a nine-month wait time for adults and 20-week wait time for children. I can report that we have made excellent progress on all that we set out to do in the first nine months.”
Tony Canavan, Chief Operating Officer, told the meeting that trolley waits in the Emergency Departments had reduced despite significant increase in admissions – in the city hospitals in June there were on average nine patients waiting to be admitted at 8am (down from an average of 24 in February).
“Specific actions taken in GUH include extending the opening times of the Acute Medical Unit to 24 hours and opening a 32 bed short stay medical unit. We have appointed two new patient co-ordinators (medicine and surgery) and a permanent discharge co-ordinator to ensure that patients get into hospital as quickly as possible.
“We have reviewed the bed usage and assigned beds specifically for medicine (including oncology) and surgery use. Now that we have better information on the flows of patients we are able to plan towards delivering zero 9-hour waits and 95% 6-hour waits in line with national targets. Although we still have some way to go, we have evidence that our approach to date is showing results.”
Mr Canavan added that in January, there were 9,901 people on the inpatient waiting list who would potentially breach the target of waiting longer than nine months if they were not seen by the target date of September 30 – but by Thursday last they had reduced the number waiting to 794 patients and were on course to achieve the SDU target by the end of this month.
“The improvements in the waiting list have been made possible by introducing a range of measures including waiting list validation, improved reporting and focus, more effective use of resources across all of the hospitals in the Group, patient education and engagement as well as increasing theatre capacity by opening previously closed theatres.
“Most importantly it is the effort of the staff in all four hospitals in the Group that is making it possible and I would like to acknowledge the dedication of all staff and their ongoing commitment to meeting the inpatient waiting list target.”
He pointed out that the level of patient activity across the Group compared to last year had increased considerably: inpatient admissions have increased by 9%, day case admissions have increased by 9%, Emergency Department activity has increased by 7% and Outpatient Department activity has increased by 5%.
Read more in today’s Connacht Sentinel
The way we were – Protecting archives of our past
People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.
Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.
She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.
Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.
Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.
When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.
Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.
And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.
All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.
“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”
That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.
For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here
Galway have lot to ponder in poor show
Date Published: 23-Jan-2013
FRANK FARRAGHER IN ENNISCRONE
GALWAY’S first serious examination of the 2013 season rather disturbingly ended with a rating well below the 40% pass mark at the idyllic, if rather Siberian, seaside setting of Enniscrone on Sunday last.
The defeat cost Galway a place in the FBD League Final against Leitrim and also put a fair dent on their confidence shield for the bigger tests that lie ahead in February.
There was no fluke element in this success by an understrength Sligo side and by the time Leitrim referee, Frank Flynn, sounded the final whistle, there wasn’t a perished soul in the crowd of about 500 who could question the justice of the outcome.
It is only pre-season and last Sunday’s blast of dry polar winds did remind everyone that this is far from summer football, but make no mistake about it, the match did lay down some very worrying markers for Galway following a couple of victories over below par third level college teams.
Galway did start the game quite positively, leading by four points at the end of a first quarter when they missed as much more, but when Sligo stepped up the tempo of the game in the 10 minutes before half-time, the maroon resistance crumbled with frightening rapidity.
Some of the statistics of the match make for grim perusal. Over the course of the hour, Galway only scored two points from play and they went through a 52 minute period of the match, without raising a white flag – admittedly a late rally did bring them close to a draw but that would have been very rough justice on Sligo.
Sligo were backable at 9/4 coming into this match, the odds being stretched with the ‘missing list’ on Kevin Walsh’s team sheet – Adrian Marren, Stephen Coen, Tony Taylor, Ross Donovan, David Kelly, David Maye, Johnny Davey and Eamon O’Hara, were all marked absent for a variety of reasons.
Walsh has his Sligo side well schooled in the high intensity, close quarters type of football, and the harder Galway tried to go through the short game channels, the more the home side bottled them up.
Galway badly needed to find some variety in their attacking strategy and maybe there is a lot to be said for the traditional Meath style of giving long, quick ball to a full forward line with a big target man on the edge of the square – given Paul Conroy’s prowess close to goal last season, maybe it is time to ‘settle’ on a few basics.
Defensively, Galway were reasonably solid with Gary Sice at centre back probably their best player – he was one of the few men in maroon to deliver decent long ball deep into the attacking zone – while Finian Hanley, Conor Costello and Gary O’Donnell also kept things tight.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr
Date Published: 23-Jan-2013