UNIVERSITY Hospital Limerick has been given the green light by Limerick City and County Council to expand its busy surgical day services.
In March last, the Health Service Executive and UHL proposed the €850,000 development to the local authority, which will involve a major reconfiguration to its surgical day services in the coming months.
Works will include the reorganisation of the Dooradoyle surgical assessment unit, the pre-operative assessment service, and its on-site admission spaces.
The HSE advertised a tender notice for the project in late February.
According to figures released by the UL Hospitals Group, an average of 82 patients attend the surgical services on a weekly basis.
Once the works are completed, more patients can be surgically assessed outside the emergency department. The new works also mean that patients will be able to be admitted on the morning of the surgery, where traditionally admissions had to occur the evening prior to surgery, a spokesperson told the Chronicle.
According to planning files, there were no objections to the project and no submissions made by the public.
The developer in charge of the reorganisation must pay a financial contribution of €5,200 to Limerick City and County Council, as part of its conditions for granting permission.
Last week, UHL also received planning permission to retain its 90-space car park in Dooradoyle for another three years.
UHL is looking to reconfigure its old emergency department, and to turn it into a short stay unit, which will provide up to 17 beds.
According to hospital officials, this will help alleviate UHL’s overcrowding issue.
Emergency consultants at UHL have said that the overcrowding problem will continue unless the bed capacity issue is sorted.
University Hospital Limerick opened its new state-of-the-art emergency department on May 29, and launched the €25m facility on June 12.
UL Hospitals Group chief clinical director, Prof Paul Burke said that, in the short term, the UL Hospitals Group hopes to turn the previous ED into a “transit area” which could act as a short stay unit, providing up to 17 extra beds.
According to latest figures published by the Nurses and Midwives Organisation, UHL had the second highest rate of overcrowding in the country in May, with 627 patients treated on trolleys at the Dooradoyle hospital.