Health Minister makes statement on future of Mayo University Hospital

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has stated trolley statistics at Mayo University Hospital have been reduced by 30% in recent months.

He was speaking during a visit today to the Castlebar facility.

He stated: "I am aware that there are too many patients on hospital trolleys nationally, but we are starting to get the situation under control.

"I have to take off my hat to the staff at Mayo University Hospital because the trolley figures for this year to date are down more than 30% compared to 2023.

"That's in spite of the fact that 20% more patients are turning up at the emergency unit."

He accepted nonetheless that the existing unit is no longer fit for purpose with works taking place on reconfiguring the facility while planning permission has been granted for an extension.

He elaborated: "The new layout will have more room for patients. It will be easier for our healthcare professions to do their work.

"There is always more that can be done, of course, and we have sanctioned the safe staffing framework for our hospitals and emergency departments.

"This will result in additional nurses, junior doctors and healthcare assistants being appointed.

"Not all of them have been hired yet in Mayo and that needs to be worked out.

"It also needs to be pointed out that the waiting lists at the Castlebar facility are falling.

"The outpatient waiting list, for example, is down by one third. That's a fantastic achievement.

"The staff are working hard and they are working smart. The budget allocated to the facility has also gone up from €119 million to €140 million.

"There is also 300 more staff employed at the hospital than there were in 2020 and those staff are being put to good use.

"More needs to be done and a second CT scanner is being prepared for Castlebar.

"We want to build on our strong team of medical practitioners in Castlebar.

"The hospital has also been making a case for an additional bed block at Mayo University Hospital and I am supportive of it.

"I agree that Mayo University Hospital should be one of the locations chosen for a bed-building programme.

"That will really help the hospital and I am doing everything I can to make that happen.

"We need final agreement but good progress is being made on this issue and we want to see more beds going to Castlebar.

"So the future of heath services in Mayo is looking brighter and we are hoping to roll out additional services to the county's district hospital," he added

However, local election candidate Harry Barrett insists the situation remains unacceptable.

He hit out: "Our sick and elderly patients have faced the indignity of long waits in the emergency department and he is the man responsible."

"I have constantly pointed out the dangers of keeping sick elderly patients waiting for hours and hours in our accident and emergency department

"Castlebar is four doctors short and this is having a shocking impact on primary care in the county.

"Backslapping and handshakes isn't good enough when we have the man responsible in the county and I will make every attempt to be there today to ask him myself.

"We need a proper, functioning healthcare service and he is the man in charge," he added.