Wednesday, August 03, 2022

By Thomas Lawrence

Patients lodged almost 30 complaints in the first five months of 2022 about their experiences in the emergency department at Mayo University Hospital (MUH).

Documents released to the Western People under the Freedom of Information Act reveal a variety of complaints relating to long wait times, inadequate treatment, and dissatisfaction with the care provided by staff. One patient who visited the emergency department on February 7 last told how they left without receiving treatment after waiting for 10 hours. Another patient described the removal of their stitches as “traumatic” due to a “lack of pain relief and care” by staff who were said to be “rushed and uncaring”.

Multiple complaints were made about “a lack of compassion” among some staff at the emergency department.

Cllr Michael Kilcoyne, Cathaoirleach of Castlebar Municipal District, said there could be no excuse for several of the issues highlighted in the complaints.

“If there was a lack of compassion for the patients, then clearly these people are in the wrong job. It may well be that they were rushing because they’re short of staff, but that doesn’t excuse a lack of compassion. I think these complaints should be looked at seriously.”

Cllr Kilcoyne said the fault lies with the management of MUH rather than the majority of nurses and doctors working in the emergency department.

“Most of the nurses put their patients first. Most of the nurses are dedicated to their job. However, it is understandable that some of them are extremely stressed and extremely upset at putting in long days, with nobody to take over from them when the end of their shift comes. None of that is the fault of the patients.

“A lot of it rests with management, and management is ultimately responsible for the way that the hospital is run.

“I do think, though, that if you continue to give a service that is substandard due to a shortage of nurses and beds, someday you’re going to have a disaster where people die through pure negligence.”

Cllr Kilcoyne blamed local TDs for not putting enough political pressure on the government to address the situation, citing the recent vote of confidence on the Government where Independent TD Marc MacSharry was said to have supported the coalition after receiving assurances from An Taoiseach Micheál Martin in relation to the provision of cardiologists at Sligo University Hospital.

“Political pressure makes a big difference and proof of it is what happened next door to us in Sligo.”

Mr Martin has since denied there were any side deals in exchange for support from Independent TDs.

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By Western People
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