Mayo University Hospital

  • A small group of people have been protesting in Castlebar’s Market Square for months now, looking for clarity on how Covid patients were and are being managed at Mayo University Hospital since the start of the pandemic.

    Martina Burke is one of the protesters and she is now questioning why questions about the hospital raised by county councillors and aired on local and national media over the past number of months have not come before the HSE West Forum meeting for discussion and answers.

    In particular, she wants clarity around a letter that was issued to hospital staff last March (2020) by hospital management advising staff not to discuss hospital business outside of the hospital.

    She told Midwest News today – that while the content of the letter was read by Westport councillor Christy Hyland into a meeting of Mayo County Council last May, the issue has not been raised by any of the 4 elected Mayo councillors on the Regional Health Forum and she wants to know why.

     

     

  • A public meeting will be held tonight in Castlebar, organised by the political organisation - Ireland’s Future, to highlight health services in the county and overcrowding at Mayo University Hospital.

    General election candidate Gerry Loftus says it is an opportunity for the general public to give their views and experiences on the health services and the main speaker at tonight’s meeting will be outgoing Clare based Independent TD and GP Michael Harty.

    Gerry Loftus believes that to solve the present crisis in the health services, we need to look to the EU and seek outside expertise on how the billions that Ireland spends on health each year could be spent more efficiently and provide a better service for everyone.

  • Visiting patients in hospital has been ruled out since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, and Mayo University Hospital is again reminding the public that visiting is still not permitted - other than in exceptional circumstances, and end of life situations.

    In these circumstances, families should phone the hospital and speak to the relevant ward manager to see if a visit can be facilitated.

    In a statement, hospital manager Catherine Donohoe says she appreciates how difficult and upsetting it is for families not to be able to visit, but it's an important infection control measure to protect patients and staff.

    She says they're working on ways to improve communication with designated family members, and also have a drop-off service to enable people to drop in clothing or other items required by patients.

     

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    Midwest News asked Saolta since last week, to clarify if there continues to be crossover of staff at Mayo University Hospital between Covid 19 and non Covid 19 patients.

    We asked for an interview with the CEO of Saolta Tony Canavan or the Manager of Mayo University Hospital Catherine Donohoe - but neither have been available for days now.

    Finally yesterday afternoon we did receive a written statement from Saolta and while it provides some information on the management of patients at the hospital it does not answer the direct question asked about the crossover of staff between covid and non covid patients.

    This morning again Midwest News has been contacted  by people who insist that up to last week there were non covid patients on wards with patients who had tested positive for the virus. They are questioning if staff in such a ward were not taking care of both covid and non covid patients.

    Midwest News has contacted Saolta again this morning and asked if that was the situation up to the end of last week, and again asked for clarification over the crossover of staff between covid and non covid patients at Mayo university Hospital

    The Saolta statement reads

    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 amongst patients and staff.

     The hospital has ensured that patients are streamed into COVID-19 and non COVID-19 pathways since mid-March in line with the guidance at the time. This meant that to the greatest extent possible, patients who were suspected of having COVID-19 or were confirmed of having COVID-19 were kept physically separate from other patients in the hospital. This required some physical changes to the hospital (including a new entrance).

    While every effort is made to ensure patients are streamed separately, occasionally it will happen that a person in a designated ‘non-covid’ space will turn out to be positive as s/he may not have shown any symptoms. Patients who develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19 on a ward, are tested rapidly and transferred to the COVID-19 ward if diagnosed.

     The hospital has also separated its clinical staff into teams to minimise contact between staff and reduce the risk of patient infection healthcare worker and - this was all based on the national guidance provided at that time.

     The Saolta University Health Care Group is assured that the appropriate control measures are currently in place in Mayo University Hospital in relation to the management of COVID 19. There has been Saolta Executive, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases input into the management of COVID-19 in the hospital. In line with good practice, the hospital also had direct input from the HSE’s Public Health Specialist service.

     It is important that people experiencing symptoms such as chest pain or stroke do not delay seeking treatment. The HSE is running a radio ad campaign to remind people that the EDs are open and not to delay seeking treatment.

     

  • 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.

  • A number of regulatory breaches have been identified at an adult mental health unit in Co Mayo.

    The 32-bed facility at Mayo University Hospital in Castlebar, was found to have four critical risk ratings, following an inspection by the Mental Health Commission (MHC).

    The inspection was carried out between the 11 and 14th September last.

    A report published today shows the acute adult mental health centre was compliant with 61% of regulations, rules and codes of practice - down from 74% compliance in 2017.

    Of the 14 areas of non-compliance, 4 were deemed critical  - including staffing and individual care plans for residents.

    The report says the premises was not clean, and rooms were not well-ventilated, while the walls had chipped paint with cigarette burns in the carpets.

    Numerous ligature risks were identified, and not all staff were trained in fire safety, basic life support, and management of aggression or violence.

    The standard of individual care plans for residents was very poor, according to inspectors.

    22 areas of inspection were compliant, according to the report, with ten of these areas rated excellent.

  • The following statement has been issued in relation to outpatient and routine elective procedures in Mayo University Hospital today and tomorrow. 

    Following the upgrade of the weather warning last night by Met Eireann to Status Red for the entire country today (Thursday March 1st), Mayo  University Hospital (MUH) is now cancelling routine electives and outpatient appointments today and tomorrow (Friday 2nd).

    We will continue to do everything possible to maintain all essential services to patients receiving planned cancer and renal services but would ask patients to contact the hospital directly at 094 90 21733 and ask for duty manager Pager 607 if they have any concerns.  All appointments cancelled during the period will be rescheduled and patients will be advised of their new appointment by the hospital.

    Patients should be advised that if they do attend the hospital today for a clinic appointment they will be seen.

    The hospital’s Emergency Department remains open 24/7 but continue to be busy and we expect difficulties around discharge planning as a consequence of the adverse conditions. We would ask that patients who are being discharged today are collected from the hospital as early as possible to avoid travelling during the worsening conditions forecast for this afternoon.

    We would encourage people to consider all options available to them for their healthcare needs and to protect the ED for those most seriously ill as delays can be expected.

    MUH is working closely with colleagues in the Community Health Organisations and with the National Ambulance Service.

     

    Keep up to date with @HSELive and @saoltagroup on Twitter and visitwww.hse.ie/weatherwarning orwww.saolta.ie for all the latest information regarding health services 

  • 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.

  • 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....

     

     

     

  • 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 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".

  • A second emergency department has now been opened at Mayo University Hospital, so that patients presenting with symptoms of Covid-19 are seen separately from other patients.

    This is one of a number of measures taken at the Castlebar Hospital to prepare for the expected surge in Covid-19 patients.

    There are now designated wards within the hospital for Covid-19 patients and non-Covid patients, and a new Intensive Care Unit is being set up to treat non-Covid patients who require critical care, while the existing ICU will be for patients with the virus who require critical care.

    General Manager of Mayo University Hospital Catherine Donoghue says we're still in the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak, and the hospital is not currently under pressure in relation to the demand for beds for Covid-19 patients.

    However, she says a number of measures have been taken to prepare for the expected surge over the coming weeks....

  • There was a significant reduction in the number of patients on hospital trolleys last month at Mayo University Hospital - compared to June last year.

    New figures from the INMO show there were just 13  patients on trolleys at the Mayo hospital during last month, compared to 74 during the month of June 2017.

     At Galway University Hospital, 501 people spent time on hospital trolleys last month - down from 566 in June last year.

    Sligo University Hospital saw a significant increase in the number of patients on trolleys last month- the number rose from 88 last June to 247 last month.

    Nationally, there was a 4% decrease in the number of patients on hospital trolleys during the month of June.

     

     

  • Siptu says between 15-hundred and two thousand health workers who signed up to be "On Call for Ireland" were handed agency contracts with inferior terms and conditions.

    The trade union says it's been contacted by a number of workers hired under the scheme.

    It says the contracts don't include death-in-service benefits which could amount to up to two years' salary for a worker with a direct state contract, or Covid-19 leave pay.

    The Cathaoirleach of Castlebar Municipal District Michael Kilcoyne raised this issue with HSE West Management last week. He asked for details on the number of staff that have been hired by the HSE at Mayo University Hospital, as distinct from agency staff,  since Minister Harris made what he termed “his emotional On Call for Ireland last March”.

    HSE West Management said they did not have the figures to hand but said they would get back to him with a response.

    Siptu's Paul Bell says agency staff are taking all the same risks as those with hospital contracts - and should get the same treatment.

  • More than 2,000 surgical and scope procedures and outpatient appointments  nationally were cancelled yesterday  as a result of a 24-hour strike by 10,000 health care workers in a dispute over pay.

    The HSE said the industrial action created a challenging situation and that difficulties arose as the strike began at 8am yesterday in maintaining “essential daily care” for inpatients such as nutrition, hydration, transfer of patients, cleaning and infection control”.

    The 24 hour industrial action concluded at 8am this morning.

    According to today’s Irish Times, health care assistants, maternity care assistants, porters, laboratory aides, chefs, and surgical instrument technicians were on strike as part of a dispute in which Siptu says they are entitled to increases of between €1,500 and €3,000 as a result of the findings of a job evaluation scheme.

    However, the union has rejected a Government proposal for the phased payment of the money commencing in November and running to 2021.

    Talks aimed at averting three further days of strike action next week are to reconvene at the Workplace Relations Commission this morning.

    Siptu’s Paul Bell says while they have accepted an invitation to the talks, the further stoppages next week have not been deferred.He says there's no resolution in sight.

     

  • Surgery has resumed today at Mayo University Hospital, following a problem with a water pump last week which resulted in the postponement of a number of procedures.

    The failed water pump in the Sterile Services Dept was replaced late last week, and the Saolta Hospital group has confirmed to Midwest News this afternoon that a full list of surgery is scheduled and underway today, following the completion of works on Friday.

     Mayo

  • Surgical procedures are still being deferred at Mayo University Hospital,  due to a problem with a water pump which has led to the postponement of a number of surgeries over the past week.

    On Tuesday, the Saolta Hospital group confirmed to Midwest News that non-urgent surgeries were being postponed due to an issue with a water pump in the hospital's Sterile Services Department - where surgical instruments are sterilised for use in theatre.

    Management said it was hoped the problem would be resolved by Wednesday, allowing surgery to proceed.

    But Midwest News has discovered that the issue has not yet been resolved.

    Concerns have been expressed to Midwest News  by hospital staff and the general public about the implications of surgery not being able to go ahead at the hospital.

    We have requested an interview with hospital management on the issue, and are awaiting a response at present.

    In a statement, the Saolta Group says staff in the hospital are working to rectify the problem with the water pump, and are working towards resuming services "as soon as possible".

     

  • 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.

     

     

  • The Orthopaedic and Physiotherapy teams at Mayo University Hospital (MUH) developed virtual clinics to assess patients with fractures who could be managed remotely during the Covid 19 restriction. The special clinics minimised hospital visits for hundreds of patients, keeping them safe at home as much as possible

    Prof Paul O’Grady, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Mayo University Hospital says the emergency orthopaedic service has continued and they have seen many patients in their clinics. "As we now move to restoring more of our clinics, including our follow-up clinics, we have started to use technology to support our clinic. This is particularly important for vulnerable or older patients and it allows us assess them remotely and avoids the need for them to attend the hospital".

    While Sarah Dunne, Physiotherapist at MUH,  explains that through the use of an app they have been able to offer patients phone and video call consultations. Telehealth has proven to be an effective means of treatment for patients of all ages.

  • The third National Patient Experience Survey is now underway covering hospitals across the country. 

    This annual survey ,the largest of its kind in Ireland, according to Tracey O'Carroll of HIQA, offers patients the opportunity to share their experiences in hospital and tell hospital management what improvements they believe are necessary. It provides a clear picture of the safety and quality of care in Irish hospitals, as seen through the eyes of patients.

     An estimated 28,000 patients will be eligible to participate in this year’s survey — almost 1000 in Mayo and 2000 patients in Galway.

    The National Patient Experience Survey contains a total of 61 questions on topics such as admission to hospital, care and treatment on the ward, trust in hospital staff, respect and dignity, and discharge from hospital. All patients aged over 16 years-of-age who spend 24 hours or more in hospital and are discharged during the month of May are eligible to participate in the survey.

     To find out more about the survey, you can visit the website www.patientexperience.ie