I WOULDN’T SAY there’s been a single week since I’ve started working about a year and a half ago in the hospital that I’ve only had to work 48 hours a week – as the 2004 EU Working Time Directive instructs.
It can be anything up to over 100 hours a week. There was a couple of hours where I was working over Christmas where I was on call three times a week and you’d have to work the next day post-call as well.
Generally you wouldn’t get any sleep, or you might get one or two hours. You could end up working anything up to 36 hours in a row.
Thirty-six hours would be a record. But once a week you’d generally have to work 32 hours in a row.
It’s a killer. Adrenaline tends to get you through the first 20 hours. You start to feel the burn at around 4am. You focus then on the ward for a few hours, you make your way through it, you’re generally okay that night, but then the next day is really exhausting.
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Nearly 12,000 patients have had their admission to hospital for treatments such as surgery cancelled between March and September this year.
Although there is a range of reasons for this, the most common problem is that the bed the patient due admission was going to be placed in had to be given to a patient who came through the hospital emergency department.
A lack of intensive care beds can also lead to cancellations because they are already occupied, leaving patients who will need to be admitted after surgery, waiting longer for their operation.
The cancellation can cause major upset and inconvenience as well as being very disruptive for someone who badly needs to have an operation or test.
AN IRISH MEDICAL device company, MitaMed, has developed a groundbreaking treatment for gastrointestinal and lung cancers.
It said that treatment of patients with colorectal cancer has just commenced in an Irish Medicines Board-approved clinical trial in Cork and Dublin hospitals, under the supervision of Dr Deirdre McNamara, Tallaght Hospital (AMNCH).
MitaMed has also established strategic partnerships with five specialist Cancer Centre of Excellence hospitals in Europe, including Trinity Health (Tallaght/ St James), Mercy Hospital, Cork, and hospitals in the UK and Sweden.
Chief Executive Officer of Mitamed, Michael Loftus, has also announced the commencement of an investment process to raise €3 million to support the development, regulatory approval and commercial sales of their therapy.
With projected sales of €14 million in five years, MitaMed is on track to successfully deliver a new standard of care for cancer patients, with better outcomes and reduced financial burden.
MitaMed’s cancer treatment involves delivering brief electric pulses directly to the tumour tissue. It says this causes the cancer cells within the electric field to become temporarily permeable and enables subsequent drug absorption.
This phenomenon is known as electroporation and allows for the targeted absorption of a smaller dose of chemotherapy drugs into cancer cells without compromising surrounding healthy tissue structures.
The company noted:
As the electroporation procedure can be performed in a matter of minutes, the treatment can be conducted rapidly on an outpatient basis. A patient may require between 1 to 3 treatments over a period of a few months.
UCC leveraged over €2 million of Irish state research funding between 2006 and 2011 to support the development of the technology at the Cork Cancer Research Centre, under the leadership of Dr Declan Soden. UCC Technology Transfer Office was also involved in the project.
Mr Kenny said the HSE was a completely dysfunctional organisation which had been formed in 2004 by squashing the former health boards together.
He said that no-one had ever said it could be sorted out in 12 months.
“What’s happening now is the start of a generational reform in the health service in this country,” he said.
Mr Kenny was speaking after the HSE confirmed that its budget overrun at the end of last month stood at €374m.
At the end of August the figure was €329m.
“Are we facing similar cuts to acute hospitals? What are the implications of these overruns in terms of patient services?” he asked.
But Mr Kenny maintained that patients would still get effective treatment in hospitals, who were treating more people with fewer resources.
“When this is completed, you will have a health service that will deliver in terms of the people’s money being channelled for real effective health services for all our people,” he said.
The hospital was over budget by over €10m in July.
In a statement tonight, the hospital said it was managing its finances prudently and had made savings of 6% in its budget this year, despite a 5% increase in in-patient care.
Tallaght is one of around five major hospitals that are heavily over budget and last year it was over budget by over €14m.
The Government has said there will be no supplementary health budget to assist health overruns.
The HSE said tonight that under Service Level Agreements (SLAs) these hospitals are permitted to seek an overdraft up to 7% of their budget for the final quarter of the year.