News Ireland daily BLOG by Donie

As many as 350 patients are dying due to lack of ICU capacity’ says Sligo Consultant

Ireland spending a lot of money on health but outcomes are consistently poor, a conference is told

Image result for As many as 350 patients are dying due to lack of ICU capacity’ says Sligo Consultant   Image result for Dr Fergal Hickey, consultant in emergency medicine at Sligo General Hospital

Up to 350 patients are dying each year as a result of capacity constraints in intensive care units, the annual conference of the Irish Hospital Consultants Association has been told.

Dr Fergal Hickey, consultant in emergency medicine at Sligo General Hospital, also said that capacity deficits in neurosurgery was leading to deaths that could be avoided or disability that could be avoided.

He said Ireland was spending a lot of money on the health service. He said he was not arguing that more money was not needed, but rather he wanted to highlight that the country was not getting good outcomes from the funding currently being provided to the health service.

Dr Hickey said OECD figures showed that Ireland was one of the top-spending countries on health but that outcomes were “quite consistently poor”.

“Most of this comes down at the end of the day to severe capital under-investment. We have a history of dreadful decision making and very politicised decision making.”

He said when the Fine Gael/Labour coalition came to power one of the first things it did was to change the HSE capital plan to include new emergency departments and ancillary services in Kilkenny and Wexford to facilitate two Government ministers. He said both locations needed new emergency departments and other facilities but they probably didn’t have the greatest need.

Dr Hickey told the conference that “we should stop lusting after false gods” including that much more work can be performed in primary care.

“It can’t and it won’t,” he said.

He said the other false god was that if additional doors into the hospital were created that this would in some way improve capacity.

The eighth amendment is precious and wonderful so says Archbishop Martin

Eamon Martin calls on politicians not to leave their Catholic faith outside door

Image result for The eighth amendment is precious and wonderful so says Archbishop Martin   Image result for The eighth amendment is precious and wonderful so says Archbishop Martin

Eamon Martin said the Church would call on politicians not to leave their Catholic faith outside of the door when it came to issues of public policy.

The eighth amendment to the Constitution has been described as “something precious and wonderful’’ by the Catholic Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin.

“It is a very clear statement at the foundation and sub-structure of our laws that everyone has an equal right to life… the mother, an elderly person who is terminally ill, and the unborn child,’’ he said.

In an interview on the RTÉ Radio programme This Week, Dr Martin said it was “gravely wrong’’ to believe that the life of any human being could be taken at any stage.

He said the decision to have a referendum was not a matter for the Catholic Church.

“We would wonder if this is really the big issue that people on the doorsteps want to talk about,’’ he added.

“There are many issues in this country at the moment about tax, about water charges, about jobs, and we are aware, of course, there are sections of society who are calling for a referendum.”

Asked if it was possible to be a Catholic and support abortion in certain circumstances, Dr Martin replied: “I think if you are a Catholic who wishes to be informed by the teaching of your Church, you will not find in the teaching of the Church a statement that says you can support the deliberate and intentional taking of human life at any stage.’’

Dr Martin said the Church would call on politicians not to leave their Catholic faith outside of the door when it came to issues of public policy.

He said the Church had not been asked to fund any particular group in the campaign to repeal the amendment, although it knew there were many people working in the area of pro-life who felt they were powerless, particularly when they said there were huge amounts of money coming into other groups advocating a repeal of the eight amendment.

A citizens’ assembly, which will first consider a possible referendum on the Eighth Amendment, meets in Dublin Castle on October 15th.

It will look at the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution which, as article 40.3.3, underpins Ireland’s strict abortion laws. It will be chaired by Supreme Court judge Mary Laffoy.

Government sources do not expect it to return with its recommendations until towards the end of the first half of 2017.

The Irish health service needs the equivalent of six extra large hospitals?

Image result for The HSE needs the equivalent of six extra large hospitals?   Image result for The HSE needs the equivalent of six extra large hospitals?

Medical consultants say the health service needs the equivalent of six extra large hospitals.

The Irish Hospital Consultants Association says hundreds more acute beds are needed to bring the service to an “internationally acceptable” level.

The IHCA is holding its annual conference in Kilkenny today.

Association President, Dr Tom Ryan claims hospital overcrowding has an impact on patient safety:” Internationally hospitals would operate at 80% capacity, and this is done in the interests of public safety and in the interests of cost effectiveness.

“Irish hospitals operate at about 95% occupancy and this has obvious implications on patient safety, it is difficult to control infections.”

Meanwhile:–

Ireland very lucky to have avoided winter healthcare calamity?

Thousands of additional hospital beds needed, Irish Hospital Consultants Association says

Pictured L to R are the outgoing IHCA President Dr Gerard Crotty with the incoming President Dr Tom Ryan, Consultant in Intensive Care and Anaesthesia, SJH, and newly elected Vice President, Dr Roy Browne, Consultant Psychiatrist, Phoenix Care Centre  Image result for the president of the Irish Hospital Consultants Association Dr Thomas Ryan has said.  Image result for the president of the Irish Hospital Consultants Association Dr Thomas Ryan has said.

Above pictured L to R are the outgoing IHCA President Dr Gerard Crotty with the incoming President Dr Tom Ryan, Consultant in Intensive Care and Anaesthesia, SJH, and newly elected Vice President, Dr Roy Browne, Consultant Psychiatrist, Phoenix Care Centre

 

Ireland has been lucky so far to have avoided a major healthcare calamity during surges in activity in hospitals in winter, the president of the Irish Hospital Consultants Association has said.

Ireland has been lucky so far to have avoided a major healthcare calamity during surges in activity in hospitals in winter, the president of the Irish Hospital Consultants Association has said.

In an address to his organisation’s annual conference in Kilkenny Dr Thomas Ryan warned that while the country had been fortunate to date, that luck might not hold out. He called for a massive expansion in the number of hospital beds and a significant increase in the number of consultants.

“The longer the current model of healthcare continues, the more likely we are to encounter a major winter-time calamity.”

Dr Ryan said the number of additional acute hospital beds that were required to provide an internationally acceptable health service in Ireland is equivalent to six large hospitals such as the Mater University Hospital or Cork University Hospital or Galway University Hospital.

He said because of existing capacity deficits, “the public is being forced to accept healthcare rationing as hospitals continue to prioritise balancing inadequate budgets, with the provision of safe and timely care for patients being relegated to a secondary consideration”.

Dr Ryan said there were too few acute beds open in Irish hospitals and that of those that were available, as many as 500 – 600 were occupied by patients who had completed the clinical phase of their treatment and who were ready for discharge.

He said the shortage of accessible acute hospital beds was “the root cause of the trolley crisis in emergency departments countrywide.”

He forecast that the trolley crisis would worsen this winter as it had for well over a decade.

He said it was a reflection of a failing hospital system.

“As many as five per cent of our acute hospital beds are not accessible to treat acute patients awaiting admission and care. These clinically-discharged patients reside in acute hospitals as a direct consequence of the lack of funding for home care packages, nursing home beds and specialist rehab beds.”

Dr Ryan also said there were insufficient consultants working in Irish hospitals.

“We are short consultants in practically all specialties with about two-thirds the number of consultants recommended in the Hanly report in 2003.”

“However since the Hanly report, the Irish population has increased at a faster pace than anticipated and the demand for care has grown significantly.”

“The public has become immune to never-ending stories on the ‘crisis’ in our acute hospitals. However the many unresolved problems in our hospitals are now at such a critical level that patient safety is compromised on a daily basis. Many of our hospitals are running at an internationally unacceptable occupancy rate of more than 95per cent which has an adverse impact on patient safety.”

“We have a failing hospital system which is rationing healthcare to patients. The reductions in acute hospital and ICU beds and the cumulative cuts in investment for equipment and infrastructure have resulted in a stark mismatch between patient needs for care and the means to deliver it. When the first priority of a hospital is to be ‘within budget’, then the result is longer waiting lists, the trolley crises, overcrowding, cancellation of essential surgery and poor patient safety and care.”

Dr Ryan said there was an urgent neeed to strengthen healthcare governance.

“There is an urgent need to strengthen healthcare governance in Ireland. Patient safety should be the first priority in all our hospitals and therefore each hospital and Community Healthcare Organisation should have a board, which includes patient representatives, GPs and practising consultants to which the management is accountable. This is not the case at the moment”, said Dr Ryan

Your hangover cures & How to beat the morning after blues using the contents of your cupboard

Image result for Your hangover cures & How to beat the morning after blues using the contents of your cupboard  Image result for Your hangover cures & How to beat the morning after blues using the contents of your cupboard

It’s been a heavy night and the morning feels even heavier. But help is at hand and now it is closer than you think? If you are sober enough maybe your kitchen has the answer?

Last night was so fantastic that being able to remember it it would only tarnish the beautiful memory.

This morning, however, you’re wishing your whole sorry existence could be wiped away as easily as your recollections of every conversation from yesterday’s evening of fun.

Happily, help might be closer than you think.

Inside your cupboard are lurking various yucky, half forgotten items that might just cure that hangover you’ve been clobbered with.

Here are some of the household goods which might just cure your your post-booze blues.

What about Sprite?    Image result for Your hangover cures & How to beat the morning after blues using the contents of your cupboard

Chinese researchers recently claimed this lemon and lime fizz helped drinkers’ bodies process alcohol more efficiently

Chinese researchers recently claimed this lemon and lime fizz helped drinkers’ bodies process alcohol more efficiently.

The booze analysts examined the effects of 57 drinks and found that Sprite was the best at beating the morning after blues.

Sprite is said to boost the body’s ability to remove a chemical called acetaldehyde, which which is produced when alcohol is broken down and causes many of the symptoms of a hangover.

Pickle juice? Image result for Your hangover cures & How to beat the morning after blues using the contents of your cupboard

The salt and vinegar reportedly restore the levels of electrolytes.

This isn’t going to be the tastiest of hangover cures, but bear with us.

If you take a swig from the pickle jar, the salt and vinegar reportedly restore the levels of electrolytes.

This means a quick shot of brine will leave you feeling hydrated – but probably even more sick than before.

And then theres Espresso coffee?   Image result for Your hangover cures & How to beat the morning after blues using the contents of your cupboard

Coffee dilates blood vessels in the brain, which could make headaches disappear.

Italian people think the best way to combat a hangover is to knock back a load of super strong espressos.

Their thinking relies on the fact that coffee dilates blood vessels in the brain, which could make headaches disappear.

But it could give everyone around you a sore head when you subject them to your hyper-caffeinated babbling.

Beer what ?????    Image result for Beer helps hangover

Some scientists think a small drink can help the body removes toxic by-products

In Denmark, they call a hair of the dog brew a “Reparationsbajer”, or repair beer, because it makes you feel better after a night on the booze.

Some scientists think a small drink can help the body removes toxic by-products from several drinks consumed the night before.

However, drinking on a daily basis is a surefire way to stumble into alcoholism, which will mean you pretty much always have a hangover.

What about lemon?  Image result for Your hangover cures & How to beat the morning after blues using the contents of your cupboard

Rubbing a lemon into your armpit whilst drinking could prevent the next morning becoming a nightmare.

Don’t bother trying to squeeze this lemon, because that’s not what the cure is based on.

Puerto Ricans reportedly believe that rubbing a lemon into your armpit whilst drinking could prevent the next morning becoming a nightmare.

And it makes you smell nice, which is probably the only scientifically proven part of this remedy.

Some raw eggs.  Image result for Your hangover cures & How to beat the morning after blues using the contents of your cupboard

A Prairie Oyster involves mixing an egg yolk with Worcestershire sauce as well as salt and pepper

A classic hangover cure called a Prairie Oyster involves mixing an egg yolk with Worcestershire sauce as well as salt and pepper.

This should then be swallowed whole, taking care not to break the egg.

However, this cure is not recommended for pregnant women – or anyone else for that matter.

Check out our top tips for seeing and photographing the Aurora in Northern Ireland

Image result for Check out our top tips for seeing and photographing the Aurora in Northern Ireland  Image result for Check out our top tips for seeing and photographing the Aurora in Northern Ireland  Image result for Check out our top tips for seeing and photographing the Aurora in Donegal & Northern Ireland

Photographing the Aurora Borealis is something that is on many people’s bucket list and the guys at North Coast Aurora Watch have given us some top tips on snapping the phenomenon

The aurora taken from Cave Hill Belfast with photographer Marty McClinton in the foreground

The Aurora Borealis, or as they are sometimes better known as, the Northern Lights, have once again been providing a light show above the skies of Northern Ireland .

Spectacular photographs of the solar phenomenon have recently been shared on numerous timelines, but how do you know when it’s going to appear and how do you capture it for posterity?

North Coast Aurora Watch, a Facebook page started by Ron Kelly, dedicated to providing real time alerts in the event of an aurora display along the North Coast gave us some of their top tips and information as to the best places from where to see and photograph this wonderful sight!

  1. Follow North Coast Aurora Watch and check the Aurora activity. The main things to look for are the KP value (the higher the value, the further south the lights could possibly be seen) and Bz value (the direction of the Earths Magnetic Field)
  2. Get yourself a DSLR camera that has a manual mode and a tripod – the tripod needs to be sturdy and tall.

The northern lights taken at Dunluce Castle, Image result for The northern lights taken at Dunluce Castle,

  1. Find a good spot – This can be as simple as looking on Google earth or looking up historical buildings in your area or by asking other Aurora Hunters. It is usually better to find somewhere with little or no ambient lighting.

On the North Coast, there are a few main sites that are used – Dunluce Castle, Mussenden Temple, Kinbane Castle Gortmore Viewpoint and Ballintoy. However, there are many more across the Province and probably some have yet to be photographed

  1. Get your camera settings right – The camera itself needs to have a manual mode, where you can adjust the ISO. You need to be able to shoot a long exposure, ideally 30 seconds. A low F ratio (ratio of the lens’s focal length to the diameter of the entrance pupil) is also good, most 18-55mm standard lenses comes normally with a lower f ratio of 3.5, other lenses go lower. A wide angle lens is preferable.

Focus is a big thing. Focus your lens to infinity then bring it back very slightly. This can sometimes be difficult to do at night. A tip is to focus your camera during the dusk on a far away light, then use a piece of tape to hold the focus ring on the lens to the body keeping it in place. All other settings can be adjusted while you are out hunting.

The aurora at Ballintoy harbour, a favourite with Games of Thrones fans, Image result for The aurora at Ballintoy harbour, a favourite with Games of Thrones fans

  1. Safety is a priority. Aurora hunters go to the darkest places, in an attempt to avoid light pollution. You could find yourself standing near a cliff edge, close to crashing waves, in a field in the middle of nowhere. Always tell someone where you are going.
  2. Dress for the conditions. Warm clothes have to be worn because the aurora season is generally in the winter because of the longer nights. Warm clothing also includes a good pair of walking boots.
  3. Be prepared with equipment – Bring spare batteries, you could be out for quite a while and you never know how many photographs you are going to take. Bring a good, bright torch and if possible, have a red lens cover for the torch. Red light doesn’t affect your night vision as much as white light.
  4. Check the levels again then get on the road. Don’t forget, stay in contact with someone.

With over 10,000 followers since North Coast Aurora Watch started in 2014 there is no doubting the tremendous local interest in the northern lights.

Aurora photograph taken from Ballykelly in Co Londonderry looking over Lough Foyle towards Co Donegal.

“This page wouldn’t be what it is without the input from our followers,” said Chris, one of the page’s administrators.

“We go mainly on live sightings from wherever our followers are so we couldn’t do it without them.

“The great thing is we have followers with some knowledge who also help out new aurora hunters with settings and locations which enables us to share this fantastic spectacle.”

“However, you don’t always need a camera to see the spectacle. If it’s strong enough, you can sometimes see it with the naked eye.”

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