A NEW surgical day unit in Nenagh Hospital is said to free up capacity for “more complex” care at the University Hospital Limerick, as the new development was launched this week.
The news comes after Minister for Environment and Local Government Alan Kelly officially opened the unit at Nenagh Hospital this Monday.
According to the UHL chief clinical director Dr John Kennedy, more people will also travel from Limerick to Nenagh and to Ennis for scheduled day surgery, as activity in the smaller hospitals increases.
The development in the Tipperary hospital, which cost in the region of €6.2m, includes two new operating theatres, a minor procedure room, theatre recovery area, a 10-bed surgical day ward, preoperative assessment facilities, a discharge lounge and other surgical department support spaces at first floor level.
The Labour minister said that “the significant investment” in the UL Hospital Group is a “vote of confidence”.
“Since July of last year, patients have been able to have surgical procedures safely carried out in a state-of-the-art, 21st century environment at the appropriate level of complexity and as close as possible to home,” he said.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) director general, Tony O’Brien said that the investment comes after some 860,763 people received day care treatment nationally in 2014 - a 2.9% rise on 2013.
“The manner in which we deliver surgical services is changing, with low-volume, more complex procedures appropriately being carried out in hospitals which are backed up with intensive care and high dependency services and surgeries that are of lower complexity and usually of higher volumes being more appropriately carried out as close to the patient as possible,” he said.
Chairperson of the UL Hospitals Group, Prof Niall O’Higgins also commended the new investment.
“The official opening by the Minister today represents an important stage in the expressed, and increasingly realistic, ambition of the UL Hospital Group to be among the top three hospitals in Ireland by 2018.”
A new canteen facility has also been included in the development at Nenagh Hospital.