User:fredkenneally Date:19/02/2008Time:23:14:05Edition:20/02/2008Examiner LiveXX2002 Page:4Color


XX1 - V1


Irish Examiner Wednesday 20.02.2008

A&E fundraising letter was unauthorised, says hospital
by Catherine Shanahan A LETTER sent to Dublin GPs by a staff member at Beaumont Hospital A&E department, requesting help in fundraising for an ultrasound machine was written by a member of nursing staff without authorisation from the hospital, management claimed last night. In the letter, the staff member said: “The department is in urgent need of an ultrasound machine which is required to speedily assess internal organ damage resulting from traffic accidents and knife trauma wounds.” It added: “It would be reasonable to assume that the machine would be a standard piece of A&E equipment.” However, the letter said the hospital was unable to provide for the ultrasound machine from its annual budget and that there was “no alternative” but for staff to raise the necessary 24,000 themselves. GPs were asked if they wished to take part in a golf classic at Beaverstown Golf Club in May, for a fee per team of 450. Dr Cyril Daly, based in Killester, Co Dublin, who received the letter, said it was a scandal that the A&E department did not have its own ultrasound machine. “If you have a knife stuck between under shoulder blades, it is no time to go flashing your plan E card at the Gullawntha Medical Clinic with the oak tree in the atrium and the three ladies playing the harp. You will be redirected to the public hospital,” Dr Daly said. However, last night Beaumont Hospital chief executive Liam Duffy said the GPs who had received the letter had been “seriously misled”. “The letter which Dr Daly received was written by a single member of the nursing staff, without authorisation by the hospital,” Mr Duffy said. “It does not represent the views of the emergency department, as it purports. The fund raising initiative referred to in the letter to Dr Daly has not been submitted for approval.” He said the letter “seriously misrepresented” the needs of the “exceptionally hard working emergency department” in a manner that was unfair to both the hospital and the agencies which fund its activities. “Dr Daly was told a dedicated ultrasound is urgently needed, it would be ‘reasonable to assume that the machine would be a standard piece of A&E equipment’, the hospital is unable to fund it and the ED staff have no alternative but to fund raise. All of this is totally incorrect,” Mr Duffy said. “Fact: This is not a ‘standard piece of equipment’ in Irish emergency departments. Staff in Beaumont’s ED have the same access to ultrasound as their counterparts in other large acute hospitals in Dublin, including the Mater, Tallaght and St Vincent’s. None of these hospital’s EDs currently have dedicated ultrasound equipment residing within them. “Fact: Equipment purchases for the ED are prioritised by the hospital’s management in consultation with the ED team led by the consultants. “The desirability of having a dedicated ultrasound machine within the department was raised within the past six months. In response, the hospital has included it within a much larger tender currently under way for new ultrasound equipment for the entire hospital which will be completed this year.”

SIPTU ballots for strike action
SIPTU will today begin balloting its 1,800 members in Aer Lingus for strike action in case the airline introduces its cost savings plan PCI-07 on Monday without the union’s agreement. Two weeks ago the airline told SIPTU that if the two sides could not reach agreement on the make-up of the 10m savings that must be found with SIPTU by February 24, it would proceed on that date with the cost saving measures. SIPTU’s ballot is due to be complete by Sunday.

Motorway deaths rise as European rate falls
by Ann Cahill Europe Cor respondent DEATHS on Irish motorways are increasing at the second-highest rate in Europe, while they are dropping in most other countr ies. The number of deaths on Irish motorways have risen by 11%, while the number of deaths on Europe’s motorways have fallen by 5.5% on average a year between 2000 and 2006. Only Greece has a worse record with a 12% increase, according to the report issued by European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) in Brussels. Ireland has the thirdshortest length of motorway among the 19 countries surveyed. Even though we have just a fraction of the motorways used in France and Germany, the number of fatalities given their length and usage is almost the same (under 3 deaths per billion vehicle-km on motorways) — though this is seventh lowest of the countries surveyed and below the European average (4). The safest motorways are in Switzerland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Britain. In these countries, less than two people are killed on average for every billion kilometres driven. The most dangerous motorways are in Slovenia and Hungary, where travellers are four times more likely to be killed. Motorways are considered the safest roads for traffic, with far fewer fatalities and accidents happening on them than other types of roads. More than a quarter of the distances travelled by motorists in the EU are on motorways, even though they account for only 1% of all paved roads. But just 8% (or 3,200 annually) of all road deaths are on motorways. For drivers in Ireland, the risk, at less than four deaths per billion kilometres driven, is below the EU average — about the same as it is in Germany and Finland. Switzerland, France and Austria have achieved the biggest reduction in deaths of between 10% and 15% from 2000 to 2006. ETSC, an independent watchdog monitoring road safety in Europe, wants the EU to insist on new safety strategies before handing

Presidential visit
PRESIDENT Mary McAleese will making a three-day official visit to Germany next week. The head of state’s itinerary is expected to include the historic cities of Berlin and Munich. Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Eamon Ryan will also be travelling with the delegation to hold talks with German politicians and officials. Mrs McAleese will depart on Sunday after she attends the Six Nations rugby game between Ireland and Scotland at Croke Park on Saturday.

Staying safe

How the best do it: ■ Switzerland: Has more than doubled the number of speed checks. ■ Denmark: Has a penalty point for driving 30% above the speed limit and loss of licence with three points. ■ Netherlands: Integrated road safety design and traffic management, awareness campaigns and police enforcement. ■ Britain: Has active traffic management including hard shoulder running during peak hours; lower speed levels during congestion periods and emergency refuge areas every 500m with roadside telephones. Incident management control centres have decreased accidents by 25% on the M42 outside Birmingham.

Anne Tydings, from Lisselton, Co Kerry, stands in front of an image of her son Pádraig, who was killed in a car crash, as she addresses teenagers at the Brandon Hotel as part of the AXA Roadsafe Roadshow. Picture: Domnick Walsh/Eye Focus

Students told of trauma of road crashes
by Donal Hickey THE horror of road traffic accidents was graphically brought home to more than 1,500 second-level students in Tralee, yesterday. Many were brought to tears on hearing first-hand accounts from victims and family members of the devastation caused by car crashes. Some of the real life images to drive the safety message home included a human brain coming out of an injured skull, a barely recognisable thigh bone and a girl’s face ruined after an accident. Kerry County Council road safety education officer Maria O’Regan said they were delighted with the huge turnout of pupils from about 20 schools around the county. ‘‘The feedback from those attending was extremely positive. Many of students were touched emotionally by what they saw and heard,’’ she added. ‘‘Fourteen people were killed on Kerry roads last year and our aim is to reduce this number. Hopefully, the shock factor will have an impact on young dr ivers.’’ Among the speakers was Anne Tydings, from Lisselton, Co Kerry, whose son, Pádraig, was killed in an accident on the day after his 22nd birthday. He was a back seat in the car which crashed, in 2004. Another speaker was Anne-Marie Russell, 24, who sustained serious leg injuries when the car in which she was a passenger crashed after the driver apparently fell asleep. A graduate of the Institute of Technology, Tralee, she is still on crutches, 13 months after the accident. There were also talks by representatives of the gardaí, fire brigade and ambulance services and the A&E department at Kerry General Hospital. Ms O’Regan described the road safety roadshow as a worthwhile event that should leave a lasting impression on young people.

THE Government wants more recruits for its international disaster response unit. The Rapid Response Corps, launched a year ago, is a stand-by panel of skilled volunteers ready to deploy to humanitarian emergencies for up to three months at a time. A roster of 64 professionals is already in place but the Government now aims to expand the corps by at least another 32. Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern said the recruitment drive focuses on logistics, engineering and humanitarian skills as well as protection and education officers for children. The first volunteer to be deployed, Thurles logistician Conor Lyons, died suddenly in Sri Lanka in September.

Disaster unit

Amnesia case

over the 2 billion a year towards the cost of new motorways. Countries pay far too little attention to making sure roads are as safe as possible, according to John Dawson chairman of the European Road Assessment Prog ramme. “More people are killed on some sections of Europe’s roads than die in a major rail crash, but far less money is spent changing this than is spent on rail, air and factory safety where there are far more stringent laws,” he said. The length of motorway in Ireland rose from 100km in 2000 to 270km in 2006. A spokesperson for the Road Safety Authority said that Ireland still had a comparatively small amount of motorway and the numbers of accidents and deaths could fluctuate very much from one year to the next. “When you have a crash they tend to involve multiple vehicles and fatalities. “The gardaí are looking at a speed camera strategy and this will have an effect when it becomes operational,” the spokesperson said. The report lists strategies other countries have found successful in reducing the accidents and fatalities and they range from opening the hard shoulder during peak hours to section speed control where cameras measure average speed over 3km.

80% of motorway speeders top 141km/h
by Juno McEnroe FOUR out of five drivers breaking speed limits on Irish motorways are racing at 141km/h or more. Statistics obtained by the Irish Examiner for 2007 show drivers caught speeding across different speed zones were dangerously exceeding limits. Figures reveal that on city and town streets, on national and regional roads as well as on motorways, nearly three quarters of drivers speeding were racing at 20km/h or more above limits. Drivers racing at the treacherous speeds were clocked by gardaí in 50, 60, 80, 100 and 120km/h zones. The speeding statistics were discouraging, road safety chiefs conceded last night.
Figures obtained by the Irish Examiner reveal . . . Over 198,000 motorists were caught speeding on Irish roads last year. Four out of five drivers breaking limits on Irish motorways (120km/h) were racing at over 141 km/h. Drivers breaking speeds in all zones by 10km/h or less accounted for just 6% or 1,103 of those caught. Over 86% of drivers (33,815) speeding on national roads (100km/h) were driving over 120km/h. Nearly 70% of drivers (34,630) breaking limits in built up areas (60km/h) were speeding at over 80km/h. Over 81% of drivers (48,836) caught speeding on urban and town roads (50km/h) were doing over 70km/h.

Noel Brett: Speed is single biggest factor for road deaths.
bust action on speed and enforcement in this country”. More than 198,000 motorists were caught speeding on Irish roads last year. The largest category of speeders were those breaking limits in housing estates, on streets and ordinary small roads, in 50km/h zones. Up to 48,836 motorists were caught breaking limits by 20km/h, reaching speeds of 70km/h or more on the urban and town roads. In the same zone, drivers breaking the limit by only a few kilometres were clocked

“Speed is the single biggest factor for road deaths in Ireland,” said the Road Safety Authority’s Noel Brett. The RSA chief said the speeding figures were “hugely disappointing” and “illustrate the need for ro-

by gardaí in just 213 cases. The breaches of speed limits uncovered by the Irish Examiner reveal the treacherous risks drivers are willing to take to finish journeys faster. Dangers to their safety and other drivers’ will be highlighted this year as gardaí turn their attention to speeders following the successful clampdown on drink drivers last year. The decision to park plans for a privatised speed camera system are being countered by increased numbers of fixed Gatso cameras for routes nationwide. Road safety campaigns in schools will also be boosted with videos showing personal tales of teenagers seriously hurt in crashes in a bid to alert youngsters about the consequences of dangerous driving.

THE true identity of an Irish man who is said to have suffered brain damage in sporting activities is being pursued by medical experts and police. Known as David Harrison the accident is believed to have happened eight years ago and the possibility of having an Irish background stems from his accent and reference to Tipperary. He has lived in Oldham town, on the outskirts of Greater Manchester. He was found collapsed in Oldham in May 2000 and was taken to Royal Oldham Hospital and treated for hypothermia but as he recovered it became apparent he had total amnesia. A concerted bid is now underway to establish his identity. He is 5ft 5in tall of medium build and has greying hair and blue eyes.

Charity appeal

ENABLE Ireland yesterday announced a fundraising campaign with fashion retailer TK Maxx. GiveGet 2008 calls for people to spring clean their wardrobes and bring unwanted items to any TK Maxx or Enable Ireland store from February 23 to March 9. The items will then be sold in Enable Ireland stores raising funds to help take action on disability.

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GAA clubs on the ball for healthy lifestyles
by Conor Kane THREE GAA clubs in Kilkenny have signed up to the healthy lifestyle as part of an initiative being launched by association president Nickey Brennan tomorrow night. Healthy Living Through Gaelic Games is designed as a policy on drugs and alcohol and will be implemented at first by the Dicksboro, James Stephens and O’Loughlin Gaels clubs in Kilkenny city. The launch takes place at 7.30pm tomorrow at the Dicksboro GAA clubhouse and follows recent debate on the role of alcohol within the GAA, and particularly regarding post-match celebrations, as well as general concern about drugs in all sport. The initiative, which has culminated in the production of the policy, began in 2007 and involved cooperation between HSE drug education officer and former Tipperary hurler John Leahy, Garda juvenile liaison officer Agnes Reddy and representatives from the Dicksboro, O’Loughlin Gaels and James Stephens clubs. The project also entailed facilitating a workshop with underage representatives from the clubs, to record their input into the development of the finalised policy. Healthy Living Through Gaelic Games outlines drug facts, resources for people requiring help regarding substance abuse problems, a medical checklist, guidelines for dealing with incidents of drug use and club members on prescribed medication, an incident report form, rules and recommendations for the clubs and substance use awareness and education. According to the HSE, the launch is the first step to ongoing substance use training programmes for the three clubs to continue in coming years. HSE drug education officer John Leahy described the initiative as “a very important step” by the three clubs following recent and much-publicised incidents involving drug use among young people. “It is a worrying problem for families, sports clubs and the workplace. The creation of a policy is an important part of helping to change people’s attitude to drug use and influence their habits in a positive manner.” He paid tribute to the clubs involved for their co-operation.

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John Leahy: A very important step.