New UHG emergency department must be a priority, says Government TD

A new A&E unit is a must for University Hospital Galway because the current facility is too small and is not fit for its purpose, a local TD insisted this week.

Derek Nolan’s comments come in the wake of the lunchtime protest by nurses at the hospital last week about overcrowding and lack of privacy at the unit. The Labour deputy has held a series of meetings with management and nurses at the hospital in a bid to resolve the ongoing problems.

“There is no doubt but this is a very serious situation. Staff shortages and increased demand has placed enormous strain on A&E. It is simply unacceptable for patients’ dignity not to be respected when they are already sick, worried and in hospital care.

“I have held discussions on the matter with hospital management and met with frontline nurses and unions to see what solutions can be advanced. In my view there are now three things that must happen.”

He is calling for more nurses to be hired, systems to be reviewed and a new emergency unit to be built.

“The 20 A&E nursing positions which UHG has committed to hiring must be filled immediately and in full. All stakeholders agree that this will have a real impact on staffing concerns. I must pay tribute to the A&E nurses who have continued to perform so admirably under the current difficult situation.

“Secondly, a root and branch review of the systems and procedures in place in the A&E should be conducted by an external expert. It is crucial that the best standards and practices are in place to make best use of staff and resources, and streamline how the A&E operates in relation to other hospital services. I have talked to hospital management about this proposal. “Crucially however, a new A&E unit must become a priority for the HSE. No matter how many new staff are hired, the physical infrastructure of the A&E is simply not good enough. It is too small and not fit for purpose. A new, modern A&E with sufficient space and facilities to allow patients to be treated comfortably and in dignity must be built. I intend to raise the matter with the HSE and the Minister for Health this week, as a priority for Galway patients.”

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