In brief...

Study seeks people who experienced medical GP errors

A study being spearheaded by NUI Galway aims to discover mistakes that commonly arise in general practice such as missed or delayed diagnosis.

The research, which is being conducted by the university’s School of Medicine, will also focus on how such errors can be avoided in the future.

Researchers for the ASPIRE study, which hopes to involve patients in improving the safety of care in general practice, are currently recruiting people who experienced medical errors in general practice. People who are willing to take part in the study will be briefly interviewed about their experience either by telephone or in person.

A “medical error” is described as an event which could have, or did, lead to harm for a patient receiving healthcare. This could include events such as a missed or delayed diagnosis, incorrect drug dosage, inappropriate medication prescribed, a referral error, or a lapse in communication with the practice.

The information received will allow the researchers to identify a number of contributory factors to errors in general practice, which will enable the design and implementation of future safety strategies to reduce patient harm. This will benefit both general practitioners and patients.

Caoimhe Madden, a PhD researcher at the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, who is leading the study, said unfortunately the patient’s perspective is often overlooked in patient safety research.

“However, we believe that patient stories can provide us with a valuable insight and enable our understanding of what areas need to be improved upon in general practice.”

Professor Andrew Murphy, a GP and Professor of General Practice at NUI Galway, stated that patient safety is a “real priority” for all general practitioners. “It is important that the patient’s voice is also heard in this vital area.”

For further information or to participate in the ASPIRE study, contact Caoimhe Madden, School of Medicine, NUI Galway at [email protected] or (091 ) 495205.

Saolta aims to promptly transfer cancer patients to centre of excellence

Sixty beds are set aside at University Hospital Galway for cancer patients who require urgent treatment.

A recent meeting of the HSE West’s regional health forum was told that every effort is made to promptly transfer cancer patients who need urgent treatment, which is unavailable in the hospitals in which they are patients, to the regional hospital.

This “timely” transfer applies to hospitals, both within and outside the Saolta Group, which runs the local public hospitals, said Tony Canavan, the chief executive of the Saolta University Health Care Group.

He outlined that the timeframe for these transfers can vary widely, depending on the availability of beds on the specific ward and the number of patients that are admitted to the hospital but are still on trolleys in the emergency department. It can also depend on getting the patient onto a list for a particular procedure that can only be carried out at UHG.

Replying to a question from Mayo councillor Michael Kilcoyne who asked how many beds are available at the Galway facility, which is a cancer centre of excellence, for such emergencies, he stated there are currently 25 beds each for oncology and haematology patients and 10 beds for in-patient radiotherapy patients.

In reply to the councillor’s query about the maximum length of time patients might have to wait, Mr Canavan said delays can vary. However, if they are critically ill they sometimes are transferred directly to the intensive care or high dependency units.

 

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