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Inspection finds “gross overcrowding” at University Hospital Kerry

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By Michelle Crean

HIQA has issued a damning report on University Hospital Kerry this week saying that it was "substantially behind many other similar-sized hospitals" in relation national standards.

Inspectors visited the Tralee-based hospital on September 20 and 21 last and found it was substantially compliant with two national standards, partially compliant with seven national standards and non-compliant with five national standards - but acknowledged that the hospital management team was in transition at the time of inspection.

They also found that there were significant deficits in governance and management arrangements which impacted on the hospital’s ability to effectively and promptly manage any increase in service demand.

For emergency care in particular, HIQA found gross overcrowding of the emergency department along with significant patient flow issues.

The emergency department had a significant shortage of medical and nursing staff. At the time of inspection, there were no formalised arrangements in place to ensure consultant oversight in the emergency department 24/7. The emergency department also had a significant shortfall on the rostered complement of nursing staff.

HIQA found that there should be more responsive oversight and management of patient-safety incidents and of the implementation of learnings and recommendations from incident reviews. HIQA was also concerned with the apparent delay in fully implementing the learning and recommendations from the look-back of radiology services carried out in 2018, and the potential for patient safety risk associated with this delay.

The systems and processes in place at the hospital to respond to complaints and concerns raised by patients and their families were not as effective as they should be in promptly and effectively resolving complaints and concerns.

CONCERNS

HIQA escalated its concerns to regional and national HSE management to ensure that necessary supports are provided to the hospital to address the issues identified.

Kerry Fianna Fáil Councillor, Michael Cahill says the fact that HIQA escalated its concerns to regional and National Health Service Authority, confirms what he has been saying for some time now.

“HIQA confirm that University Hospital Kerry is substantially behind similar sized hospitals in complying with national standards, having found gross overcrowding and a shortage of medical and nursing staff. What staff are there, are overworked and over stretched and a major investment is urgently required to avoid a catastrophe in our local health service,” he said.

“It is a damning report once more on Health Services in Kerry following reports on CAMHS, and action must be taken immediately. Staff are overworked and the treatment, dignity, and confidentiality is compromised. It is totally unacceptable."

In a statement responding to the HIQA report, University Hospital Kerry said that it is "committed as a hospital to protecting the safety and welfare of patients".

"We have closely analysed HIQA’s report findings. Immediately following the inspection, urgent actions were implemented to address key issues identified by HIQA. Additionally, on foot of receiving HIQA’s detailed report, we have submitted to HIQA a comprehensive Quality Improvement Plan with short term (three months), medium term (six months) and longer term (within three years) actions to address the findings from the inspection."

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Massive Park Road housing development given green light

A private developer has been given planning permission to build 249 new residential units at Upper Park Road. The development, which will be built on a recently cleared site near […]

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A private developer has been given planning permission to build 249 new residential units at Upper Park Road.

The development, which will be built on a recently cleared site near An Post’s sorting office, will include a variety of properties from five-bed houses to single apartments, along with a crèche and over 500 car spaces and over 300 bike spaces.

The development has been welcomed by local councillor Martin Grady.

“Killarney has a massive housing shortage so this is very positive. It will retain young families in the area, stimulating economic growth,” he said. “After 17 years of different planning applications it’s finally coming to fruition.”

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Ballydribeen residents living in fear due to anti-social behaviour

Residents in the Ballydribeen are living in fear as a result of increased anti-social behaviour in the estate. Several serious incidents in the estate have resulted in several Garda visits […]

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Residents in the Ballydribeen are living in fear as a result of increased anti-social behaviour in the estate.

Several serious incidents in the estate have resulted in several Garda visits in the last week.

Local councillor Martin Grady told the Killarney Advertiser that residents are “living in fear” as a result of very serious incidents in the last week alone.

One house in the estate was badly damaged when fire crackers were placed inside a letter box.

Another house had its windows smashed in over the weekend.

“It’s a major problem,” added Grady after meeting residents there earlier this week.

One of the most serious incidents occurred on Tuesday night.

A passing motorists had rocks thrown at his car while driving along the bypass whch is adjacent to the estate.
Taking to social media, local primary-school teacher Pádraig O’Sullivan posted:

“Travelling home tonight, at 11.05pm on the Killarney side of the bypass our car was hit by a rock – not a pebble – from the Ballydribben side , which hit the passenger door.

“It was centimetres away from hitting the window where my father, who is visually impaired, was sitting.

“This could have caused catastrophic permanent injury to him.

“The Killarney Garda were on the scene within three minutes.

“They can’t be patrolling the bypass all night.

“It comes down to parenting. You should know where your children are at this hour and be able to teach them what’s funny and what ruin a person’s life or cause a fatal crash.“

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