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Tag Archives: Dr Michael Harty

Dr Harty warns Covid-19 restrictions will increase overcrowding at UHL

OVERCROWDING in University Hospital Limerick now seems inevitable due to new Covid-19 restrictions, a local doctor has warned. The number of patients on trolleys in UHL reached 54 on Thursday, July 2 and Monday, July 6 which was the highest figure for any hospital in the country, according to figures produced by the INMO trolley watch. While the number of patients without beds dropped slightly to 48 on Tuesday, July 7 this was more than double the next highest hospital University College Hospital, Cork, which had 20 and contrasted sharply with Nenagh, Ennis and University Hospital Galway, which had no patients on trolleys. Dr Michael Harty pointed out that while UHL operated at 110% capacity in previous years he could now only run at 80% due to new Covid-19 measures such as social distancing and infection control. “Trolleys will be inevitable. Unless new models of practice are used, we will be back to levels experienced last winter before this year’s …

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Five healthcare workers hired in Mid-West from national recruitment

ONLY five healthcare workers were hired in the Mid-West following a national recruitment appeal during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, new figures have revealed. According to statistics obtained by Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly, only five healthcare staff were taken on through ‘Be On Call for Ireland’ in the region. They also show that just 185 health and social care workers have been hired through this scheme across the State out of 73,000 applicants. Deputy O’Reilly described the paltry recruitment of healthcare workers as “baffling”. “It beggars belief that with tens of thousands of health staff applying to work through ‘Be On Call for Ireland’ and in the face of an international healthcare crisis, that recruitment through the initiative has been so low,” she said. Dr Michael Harty said the recruitment of highly skilled qualified nurses, doctors and allied health professionals to permanent positions has been very patchy. The Kilmihil-based GP said several medics who assumed they would …

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Covid outbreaks in a quarter of Clare nursing homes

OUTBREAKS of Covid-19 have been confirmed in a quarter of nursing homes in Clare, The Champion has learned. News of clusters in four out of the county’s 16 homes has prompted renewed calls for greater medical supervision of these facilities. There were a total of 13 nursing home clusters in the Midwest area covering Limerick, Clare and North Tippeary, according to figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) up to May 24. Data released by the Health Service Executive (HSE) now indicate that Clare accounts for just under one-third of these. Reacting to the figures, Deputy Michael McNamara, who is Chair of the Covid-19 Dáil Committee, has called on the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) to provide it with details of the homes it identified, at the outset of the pandemic, as being at particular risk. At Tuesday’s committee hearing, Mary Dunnion of HIQA said a list had been sent to the HSE in February or March. “These, …

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Dr Harty believes nursing home visiting restrictions must remain for now

CLARE GP and former Dáil deputy, Dr Michael Harty has said the while the ongoing ban on visitors to nursing homes was “a dilemma”, the time was not yet right to lift restrictions. The Kilmihil-based GP said that, despite a call from the nursing homes regulator to look at allowing visits, the overriding concern had to be keeping Covid-19 out. Earlier this week, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) called on health officials to examine ways of easing restrictions, over concern for the welfare of residents. “For elderly people, isolation from family and visitors is very restrictive,” Dr Harty said. “But, we must balance the dilemma that poses with keeping the virus out. Given the devastating impact that Coronavirus can have, the balance probably comes down in favour of the restrictions.” Noting that some nursing homes were facilitating families to see residents at their bedroom windows, or by video call, Dr Harty said that these were the preferred option …

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Concerns grow over health impact of Covid restrictions

CALLS for the fast-tracking of medical procedures, deferred because of Covid-19, are gathering momentum, as a leading Clare cancer campaigner described the situation as “incredibly concerning”. Quin resident John Wall, who has terminal prostate cancer, said the postponing of elective procedures, as well as the suspension of the national breast and cervical cancer screening programmes, needed to be addressed as a matter of urgency. “The government nationalised public hospitals, in good faith, because of the potential overflow that was envisaged because of a potential peak in Coronavirus,” he said. “Thankfully, that surge hasn’t materialised. However, we now find ourselves in the position that the vast majority of public beds are lying empty, elective procedures have been cancelled. We’re reopening the country, but we have no definitive plan yet to move forward on this. Ultimately, we all want universal healthcare. I pay for private health insurance, I would prefer not [to have] to. I would prefer to place my faith in …

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more state support sought for nursing homes

Concern about the availability of personal protective equipment for nursing homes in Clare has been expressed by Dr Michael Harty. Dr Harty said some nursing homes felt abandoned as they had instituted strict visitor restrictions on March 6 even before the lockdown. He understands most of the nursing homes in Clare are free from Covid-19 following the provision of very effective protection measures to ensure residents are safe. “One nursing home told me they spend €10,000 purchasing their own PPE because they weren’t able to get a sufficient supply from the HSE. He recalled there was an expectation there would be a huge surge in the number of people requiring hospital treatment with a substantial number requiring admission to intensive care who may need ventilation. “The emphasis was placed on that aspect of care from the beginning. The social distancing and lockdown measures that have been introduced has made a huge difference to the numbers of people requiring hospitalisation and …

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disparity in Fair Deal funding for nursing homes

THE glaring disparity between public subvention provided to public and private nursing homes came under the spotlight this week as some residential care facilities request more personal protective equipment (PPE) to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic over the coming weeks. In a week when a local lobby group issued a public appeal for people to donate PPE, a huge gap has emerged in terms of state funding provided to different local nursing home operators. According to figures obtained by the Clare Champion, some public nursing homed are getting almost twice as much public subvention under the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (Fair Deal) compared with their private counterparts. Under the NHSS, the cost of care in Clare’s public nursing homes is €1,607 in St Joseph’s Community Hospital, Ennis; €1,650 in Raheen Community Nursing Unit; Ennistymon Community Unit €1,481 and Regina House Community Nursing Unit, Kilrush, €1,422. This compared to €830 for a single or shared room in St Dominic Savio Nursing …

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Dr Harty believes Covid-19 is like a “pneumonic plague”

Dr Michael Harty believes Covid-19 should be categorised as a “pneumonic plague” because it is a deadly virus that people have no immunity against, attacks lungs and other vital organs and in some cases leads to deaths. The former Clare Independent Deputy has compared to current pandemic to the Spanish Flu of 1918 as it has such a destructive impact on peoples’ health. “People of all ages have died from Covid-19. There is no age group that is immune from it,” he said. His comparison comes after official confirmation the number of Covid-19 cases in Clare increased from 60 to 65 from Monday to Wednesday this week. The Kilmihil-based GP expressed concern about the dramatic increase in mortality from the virus from the mid twenties to 36 on Tuesday. He believes that Ireland is about twelve days behind Italy and in twelve days’ time the country could reach the peak experienced by the Italians a week ago. Having analysed the …

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