Appeal to alleviate growing pressures on Mayo University Hosptal as winter approaches

AN URGENT appeal has been issued for a reassessment of health services in the county to alleviate growing pressures on Mayo University Hospital.

Following another busy week at the facility, Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary said the fact a sum of €600 million is being invested nationally in the HSE's winter plan compared to €27 million last year gives a clear indication of the challenges facing the frontline sector over the coming weeks.

The Ballina-based representative stated: “We must ensure this money is invested in community-based services in line with Sláintecare.

“Our community GPs must be empowered to make bigger decisions and given the resources they need. They must also be given out-of-hours support because many rural GPs do not have appropriate out-of-hours support and are considerably overworked. This makes it more difficult to fill GP posts.

“We also have a fantastic network of district hospitals in this county which are completely underused.

“They should be used more and extra beds should be opened to reduce the pressure on our acute hospitals.

“There are beds in Ballina, Belmullet and Swinford that could be opened and staffed to take the pressure off Mayo University Hospital.

“Basic services such as X-rays, physiotherapy and mental health consultations could be provided at district level so that people would not be required to travel in to Mayo University Hospital or University Hospital Galway. It would take the pressure off these hospitals. They should be focused.”

Deputy Calleary said the county's disability day services and mental health services are still not properly up and running again.

He explained: “I was concerned to see that, when people had to be assigned to contact tracing urgently, people working in these therapies were used to fill those roles, which again added to the waiting lists which have built up because of the shutdown.

“It seemed incredibly strange to use therapists to fill those roles when there is no shortage of administrative staff in the area.

“This has added to the misery of patients who are on waiting lists and we cannot allow it to happen again.

"We have to invest in those services, in dealing with those waiting lists, and in putting extra people in place. Let us take the opportunity provided by this increased investment to do so.”

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