AN 86-year-old man who was told by staff at South West Acute Hospital he needed surgery at Altnagelvin in Derry was also told there was no ambulance available to take him there. The patient, described as being in extreme pain, was forced to find his own way to Derry.
The pensioner, from Fivemiletown, was taken to the South West Acute Hospital in the town and, when he was told the following day, he would have to undergo surgery the nurse also told him an ambulance was unavailable and he had to travel up to Altnagelvin himself.
Assembly member Lord Maurice Morrow said, “His elderly wife was contacted, and she was frantic trying to arrange transport. She doesn’t drive, and trying to get transport organized at such short notice and under incredible pressure to meet a slot for surgery was distressful for both.”
The incident took place last week, and, since then Morrow has been attempting to make contact with members of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS). When he managed to get in contact, he said they assured him that the matter would be investigated.
“Just imagine the circumstances of two elderly people, one of whom is weak, in pain and requiring surgery, the other beside herself with worry and put under undue stress, having to arrange their own transport to ensure important surgery is able to proceed. Neither of them should have had to go through this trauma at what was already a very worrying time,” Morrow added.
The NIAS confirmed that an investigation is ongoing.
Older Tourists Spend More
TOURISTS in Lahinch are getting older, it is claimed, as emigration takes its toll on visitors to the North Clare resort. This could well account for the fact that an increase of up to 30 percent in visitors to Kilkee this summer compares to a more modest three percent increase in Lahinch.
Kilkee business representatives have mixed reports in terms of the extent of tourism spend in the town, while the influx of people to Lahinch during the exceptionally good weather was not matched by a corresponding rise in revenue. Overall, the North Clare resort has seen a decrease in spending.
As the summer season draws to a close, Irish Hotels Federation president Michael Vaughan said there has been a change in the demographic of visitors to the Lahinch area. He noted a rise in the number of retired people visiting and a marked decrease in the number of young people coming to the resort for weekends.
“From looking around, I would say there are a lot more visitors in the over-55 age group or active retirement groups. Of course, they are the people who have some money to spend at the moment. There are definitely less younger holidaymakers. They seem to have emigrated,” said Vaughan.
“Emigration has taken its toll on the younger, partying-type tourists that would have come to the village in the past. Emigration is definitely a factor.”
Vaughan pointed out the good weather during July brought an influx of people to Lahinch, but this has not been matched by a corresponding rise in revenue.
“By and large, visitors to the area are up on previous years but not much more than two to three percent overall for the summer. The high season has been good, especially July and August but the earlier part of the season was down,” he said.
“There were lots of families here over the summer and I think surf schools did well but, anecdotally, the spend is down. Lots of day-trippers are bringing their own picnics, whereas before they would have had their lunch in pubs or restaurants locally. There are people coming to Lahinch but they are on a budget. Admission at attractions is good but the spend is not as high as it used to be and that has to be expected,” he said.
The Clare Champion
FUNERAL eulogies are to go in the Meath Diocese after a statement by Bishop Michael Smith concerning the “dumbing down” of the funeral Mass and rites.
From now on appreciations or eulogies by family members or friends of the deceased should not take place in the church but may take place after the Rite of Committal in the cemetery or when the family and friends gather.
“Secular songs, poems and texts devoid of a Christian content are out of place in the funeral liturgy,” Smith said.
“A post-Communion reflection of a prayerful nature can be given after Communion but this should be agreed beforehand with the celebrant and should not be used as a cloak for a eulogy. As is clear from the directives on the Funeral Rite, the deceased should not be canonized in the homily.”
Visiting priests officiating at a funeral will be informed of the regulations and asked to abide by them.
“It is important that undertakers in your area are aware of these regulations. It is also important that clear arrangements are in place on the signing of books of condolence. Some priests expressed the view that they should not be allowed in the church,” Smith added.