Pictured are Kate Meade, Staff Nurse; Claire Lenane, Clinical Nurse Manager; Fiona Johnson, Clinical Nurse Specialist; and Fiona Higgins, Staff Nurse. | PICTURE: Brian Arthur
THE UL Hospitals Group has confirmed it will pass a significant milestone next week with the opening of the brand new Outpatients Department in Ennis, County Clare.
Situated at Westpoint Retail Park on the Kilrush Road, the new department will initially house services which are currently based in Ennis Hospital, and also allow for the expansion of outpatient services into the future.
“This beautifully designed, state of the art facility is what the people of Clare have long been entitled to for outpatient services,” said UL Hospitals Group CEO, Colette Cowan ahead of the arrival of the first patients into the facility on Monday, March 29.
The initial phase of operations for the new facility will entail a relocation of outpatient staff currently based at Ennis Hospital, at a pace determined by the hospital’s re-emergence from Level 5 restrictions.
With a total floor space of 1,300 square metres, the new Outpatients Department in Ennis has 15 clinical rooms, in addition to a phlebotomy bay, four waiting areas, offices and staff changing rooms.
The new department, which has an equipping allocation of €900,000 for 2021, will allow for the relocation of services such as cardiac rehabilitation and, later this year, radiology and general X-Ray. All activity in the department is scheduled and operates on an appointment-only basis.
Situated approximately 3.5km from Ennis Hospital the new building is easily accessible from the M18 Limerick-Galway motorway and N85 by-pass of the County Clare town.
The enhanced facilities for patients and staff will allow for future extension and expansion of services for the overall improvement of the patient experience at Ennis Hospital. Greater capacity, in addition to facilities that are future-proofed with ongoing advances in telehealth, will assist with efforts to reduce waiting periods and manage waiting lists.
The development of the facility has been a priority for UL Hospitals Group in improving local access to non-acute patient care.
The primary reason for this relocation is that the current building at Ennis Hospital was deemed no longer suitable for the demands for a modern day Outpatients service.
Outgoing project lead Sheila Mulcair said: “I’m delighted that the new Outpatients Department at Westpoint has opened on schedule with our projected opening date of Quarter 1, 2021."
“Access is much improved. Currently in the hospital, it can be very difficult to get parking on some days of the week. But here, there is ample parking, easy access from the bypass, and the building is bright, airy and modern, developed specifically with patients’ needs in mind. For the people of the Mid-West region, it’s nothing less than what they deserve,” Ms Mulcair added.
Clare County Council granted permission for the project in October 2018, and works began in 2019, interrupted only by a two-month period in 2020 due to the social and physical distancing restrictions imposed nationally in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This is very much a forward-looking development,” said Noreen Spillane, Chief Operations Officer, UL Hospitals Group.
“Westpoint supports the strategies outlined in the Sláintecare programme, which aims to enhance health promotion and help people to stay healthy, and provide services that deliver the very best in modern healthcare, in the best location, when they are needed, while providing value for money to the population that funds them.”
Preparing for opening day next Monday, department manager, Claire Lenane, said: “The team in Ennis Outpatients Department are very much looking forward to welcoming our patients to this modern, patient-centred facility, which will allow for expansion and developments of services, and provide an enhanced experience for patients who attend here."
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.