Daily Archives: April 15, 2016

News Ireland daily BLOG by Donie

Thursday 14th April 2016.

Almost 20% increase in Irish nursing home abuse allegations


The number of allegations of suspected or confirmed abuse of older people in nursing homes jumped by almost 20% last year.

According to the Health Information and Quality Authority’s (Hiqa) 2015 overview report of nursing home inspections in 2015, some 424 notifications of allegations of abuse were received, compared to 357 in 2014 — an increase of almost 19%.

Some 967 notifications of an unexpected death of any resident were received — up from 625 in 2014.

Hiqa received 4,155 reports of an injury to a resident that required medical and/or hospital treatment in 2015. However, it stressed there is evidence of over-reporting by centres, as just 54% required hospital treatment, while 95% of these were rated as of minor/moderate risk.

There were 137 reports of unexplained absence of a resident from a nursing home, up from 122 in 2014.

There is a total of 577 centres providing 30,106 residential beds here.

A total of 411 nursing home inspections were carried out last year in 343 registered residential centres across the country, with almost half of all inspections being unannounced.

Some 59% of all registered centres received an inspection in 2015. Of the centres that received an inspection, 84% received one inspection, 13% received two inspections, and 3% received three or more inspections.

The chief inspector with Hiqa, Mary Dunnion, said good levels of compliance with regulations relating healthcare, food, and nutrition and end-of-life care were found in the centres inspected.

“The provision of high-quality, safe service is found in centres where managers, providers, and persons in charge continually look for innovative ways to improve the evolving needs, preferences and rights of individual residents,” she said.

However, head of advocacy and communications at Age Action Ireland, Justin Moran, expressed concern at the substantial rise in reports of abuse in nursing homes.

“It is essential that all of these cases are reported to the HSE’s elder abuse caseworkers and properly investigated. We need a proactive approach to tackling elder abuse with more training for care staff and ensuring residents know how to report cases of suspected abuse,” said Mr Moran.

He also questioned why so many people are in nursing homes in the first place.

“Many older people need quality nursing home care, but thousands could be at home with their families and in their communities if the proper supports were provided,” said Mr Moran. “That’s what they want. It’s what the Government’s National Positive Ageing Strategy promises.”

“And it’s better value for money. The next government must prioritise investment in services that enable older people to stay home as long as possible and introduce a statutory right to community care.”

In a statement, Nursing Homes Ireland said the report highlighted high standards of care right across the nursing home sector which provides “reassurance for residents, their relatives and friends and wider public”.

“It is important to note the report focusses on areas requiring improvement and it states numerous specific examples of good practice in nursing home care are not documented within it, but published within individual inspection reports,” said a statement.

“It does provide an analysis of good practice, further endorsing high-quality care that is provided by dedicated, committed, and caring management and staff within nursing homes.”

Nursing Homes Ireland also highlighted the “critical issue” of adequate staffing levels in the sector and said it had recently engaged directly with Hiqa on the issue.

Dáil establishes an all party committee to deal with housing and homelessness


A new all-party committee to look at how to deal with the housing and the homelessness crisis has been established by the Dáil.

TDs are also making statements on housing tonight, saying there is an urgent need to find a fix.

Acting Environment Minister Alan Kelly says 31 actions were taken in the last 21 months, and he says no matter what is done now won’t fix the problem overnight.

Mr Kelly said: “I’ve sought to tackle this issue from every possible angle to improve the situation for everyone in this country.

“It has absolutely been my priority during my short term in the Department of the Environment.

“But the fruits of that work will take time to become apparent. We have laid the foundations, but the solutions will, like any house, take time to build and to bring forward.”

ESB workers set to receive a 5.5% pay rise


In addition to the 5.5% pay rise workers will receive a €2750 once off payment?

6000 ESB workers are set to receive a 5.5 % pay rise over two and a half years, as well as once-off lump sums worth around €2750, under new pay proposals.

The proposals, revealed in the journal ‘Industrial Relations News’, would see staff receive an increase of 2.75% from 1 April 2016, with a further 2.75% on 1 August 2017.

It is understood trade unions see the €2,750 lump sum as effectively retrospective compensation for a period when pay was frozen between 1 April 2014 and the end of March 2015.

Such arrangements are not common in the general workforce. At that point, a 2% pay rise was awarded.

This latest deal expires at the end of September 2018, when a new three year pay agreement will be negotiated.

The percentage increases would be seen as being in line with norms in the economy at present.

The deal emerged from a mediation process after a previous pay offer was comprehensively rejected.

Under a separate cost reduction programme including significant job cuts, savings of €140 million were secured.

The ESB said negotiations between the company and the Group of Unions had concluded on 7 April resulting in the development of a proposal issued for the consideration of both parties by the independent facilitator on Monday.

It said it had no further comment to make at this time.

The ESB confirmed that the average salary for ESB employees at present is €62,000, rising to €72,000 when overtime and expenses are factored in.

Binman life was saved by hero schoolgirl Victoria is presented with bunch of flowers


Victoria Williamson Gaine pictured with Panda Waste Employee, Florin Popa at her school.

THIS is the first meeting between hero student Victoria Williams-Gaine and Florin Popa, since she saved his life.

Mr Popa (39) today surprised the transition year student at her school St Joseph of Cluny, in Killiney, and presented her with a mixed bouquet of flowers.

Victoria Gaine, 16, and her mother Viv outside their house in Shankhill where they helped save life of binman. Shankhill, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

Victoria (16) performed lifesaving CPR on Mr Popa, after he collapsed outside her home in Shankill on March 23.

The Panda Waste employee thanked Victoria for saving his life, while the company also donated a defibrillator to the school as a sign of gratitude.

He has not yet returned from work and is continuing his recovery from the heart attack he suffered.

Transition Year student Victoria Williams-Gaine (16), from Shankill, Co Dublin,  was hailed as a hero after she saved Mr Popa’s life outside her home

Victoria learned how to administer life-saving CPR in school just weeks before the Panda Waste worker (39) collapsed outside her house.

Mr Popa, originally from Romania, would have died if not for the quick intervention of the teenager. His work colleagues have described Victoria as a “superstar” and said Mr Popa was very grateful to her for saving his life.

The incident happened on March 23 just before Victoria and her family were due to fly to New York.

Victoria’s mother Viv Gaine saw the bin lorry outside the house at around 9am and went out, hoping to empty some bits of rubbish before the workers collected the bins.

“When I went out, the truck was outside and I could see the man on the ground.

“I dialled 999 and I shouted up to Victoria. The ambulance man asked if he was breathing and I said no.

“Victoria got down and she started to do CPR on him,” Ms Gaine said.

Within four or five minutes, the first ambulance arrived.

Victoria’s work was not finished, however – when the medics saw she was competently administering the lifesaving procedure, she was asked to continue.

“The ambulance men realised that she knew what she was doing and it allowed them to set up,” Ms Gaine said. A second ambulance soon arrived and Mr Popa was placed into it.

Both Victoria and her mother could hear the medics saying that he had no pulse, before confirming that it had returned.

Within 30 minutes, he was transferred to St Vincent’s Hospital on Merrion Road.

Ms Gaine said that her daughter became very upset when she realised what a close call it was.

Ms Gaine said the crucial factor was that her daughter had learned CPR in her school St Joseph of Cluny, in Killiney.

A spokesman for Panda praised Victoria and described her as a “superstar”.

Greenland ice sheet sets new record with shocking early melt


Greenland’s earliest recorded melt shocked scientists this week, while at the same time, a new report ultimately confirms the 97% consensus that human activity is responsible for recent changes in our climate due to global warming.

Greenland’s earliest major melt is a record?

As this week started, scientists monitoring the Greenland ice sheet experienced a shock – over 10% of the island’s ice sheet surface was experiencing melting of over 1 millimetre. As this started on April 11, this surpasses the previous record for early melt of more than 10 per cent of the ice sheet surface – from May 5, 2010 – by more than three weeks.

Maps showing melting on April 10 and 11, 2016. Graph of percentage of total ice sheet area experiencing at least 1 mm of melting – Jan 1 to Apr 11 1990-2013 average and year-to-year daily variation.

This situation was so unusual, so anomalous, that the scientists doubted what they were seeing, at first.

“We had to check that our models were still working properly,” Peter Langen, a climate scientist at the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI), told Polar Portal. “Fortunately we could see from the PROMICE.dk stations on the ice sheet that it had been well above melting, even above 10oC. This helped to explain the results.”

What’s the cause of this? An unusual warm spell over Greenland during the past week, along with warm onshore winds bringing rain to the southwest coast of the island.
Temperature anomalies (from 1979-2000 average) for April 8-14, 2016 show a patch of unusually warm air over Greenland.

DMI forecasters say that temperatures will cool throughout the rest of the week, but this event has already taken its toll.

Not only is this the earliest substantial melt on record, but the refreezing of the rain and meltwater soaking into the ice sheet sets it up for even more melting in the future.

Prof. Jason Box, of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), explained to Polar Portal: “Meltwater refreezing releases heat into the snow at depth, reducing the amount of heating needed for melt to start and forming ice layers that can help melt water run off the ice sheet earlier with climate warming.”

Needless to say, DMI and GEUS scientists will be closely monitoring the ice sheet going forward.

Consensus of the 97% of climate experts?

“97% of climate experts agree humans are causing global warming.” 

This statement, which came about as a result of the Consensus Project in 2013, has come under persistent attack from those who deny the link between fossil fuel burning and the current state of global warming and climate change we are observing around the world.

In response to these attacks, John Cook, from the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland and the founder of SkepticalScience.com, gathered a team of over a dozen colleagues, all of whom had been part of other consensus studies, to go over the data and put the arguments to the test.


“We have shown that the scientific consensus on AGW is robust, with a range of 90%–100% depending on the exact question, timing and sampling methodology,” Cook and his colleagues wrote in the new study. “This is supported by multiple independent studies despite variations in the study timing, definition of consensus, or differences in methodology including surveys of scientists, analyses of literature or of citation networks.”

“From a broader perspective, it doesn’t matter if the consensus number is 90% or 100%,” they concluded. “The level of scientific agreement on AGW is overwhelmingly high because the supporting evidence is overwhelmingly strong.”