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MUH visitor restrictions questioned


RESTRICTIONS STILL IN PLACE Cllr Michael Kilcoyne has submitted questions to next week's meeting of the HSE Health Forum over the continuing visitor restrictions at Mayo University Hospital.

Hospital refuses to say when Covid-era restrictions will be eased

Anton McNulty

VISITOR restrictions at Mayo University Hospital are expected to continue for the foreseeable future, despite other hospitals easing theirs.
Since the beginning of April, visitor access to the hospital has been by appointment only. Patients must identify who they would like to visit and a time slot is then offered.
Sligo University Hospital eased visitor restrictions yesterday (Monday), with visiting hours reintroduced and visitors no longer having to make an appointment.
Castlebar-based Independent councillor Michael Kilcoyne, a member of the HSE West Regional Health Forum, is now questioning why restrictions are still in place in Mayo University Hospital.
“In other hospitals around the country the restrictions are not near as severe as in Castlebar, so what is going on in Castlebar that they can’t let families in?” he said to The Mayo News.
“There are people who are lying in bed all day and their families are worried and they can’t get in to see them. I am saying it is not good enough. I am not saying the whole village should go in but I’m saying families should be allowed in on a regular basis and that is not happening.”
Cllr Kilcoyne has submitted questions to the HSE ahead of the next meeting of the Health Forum next Tuesday, demanding to know why the restrictions are still in place.
“Is there any medical or scientific reason to support the continued restriction on families visiting their ill relatives?” he asked in his letter to the HSE.
Cllr Kilcoyne said he has yet to receive a reply.
The Mayo News contacted the Saolta Group of Hospitals to see whether plans are in place to ease restrictions in the near future. However, the question went unanswered. Instead, it reissued a statement from April 8 outlining the current hospital position regarding visitor access to the hospital.
The latest HSE figures show that as of Saturday evening, May 14, MUH had eleven Covid-19 cases, none in the Intensive Care Unit.
Cllr Kilcoyne said that with society opening up in recent months, Covid numbers should not be used as an excuse for not allowing visiting hours to be reintroduced.
“Patients in the hospital should be entitled to have their families visit them even if it is only for a short time. You have to make an appointment, now and it makes it awkward for families – why does everything have to be awkward?
“The Covid situation is down low now and it is the same as any other hospital, it has improved substantially. There was a time during Covid when people would go along the window and look in. That stage of Covid has gone, and I’m saying it is not acceptable to continue visitor restrictions. I have got a lot of complaints about it to be fair,” he said.
The latest INMO Trolley Watch figures show as of 8am on Monday, May 16, 14 patients were waiting for a bed in MUH. Of those, eight were waiting in wards for a bed while the other six were in the emergency department.
The number of patients waiting for a bed in Mayo was higher than any of the larger hospitals in Dublin and the east of the country. Cllr Kilcoyne questioned how large hospitals in Dublin could administer beds for patients better than in Castlebar and other hospitals in the Saolta Group, saying he would be seeking answers at the next Health Forum meeting.