Anne Hegarty, head of medical social work services, UL Hospitals Group; Eimear Smalle, medical social worker; Miriam Nolan, antenatal clinic and Ciara Lawlor, medical social worker
A NEW medical social work walk-in clinic has opened at University Maternity Hospital Limerick to provide a more responsive and accessible service to women and their families.
The walk-in clinic will initially run in parallel with the Monday morning Ante-Natal Clinic, open 9am to 1pm, and the service at UMHL will expand following the appointment of an extra social worker later this year.
Until now, women or their families seeking the support of medical social work within UL Hospitals Group have been referred by a healthcare professional.
Last year, there were 510 new referrals from UMHL to the medical social worker. There can be as many as 130 open cases relating to UMHL patients at any one time.
The new clinic coincides with the continuing development of the Perinatal Mental Health Service at UMHL but it is open to all women and their relatives.
“It’s about breaking down barriers and is open to all to call in,” said Ciara Lawlor, medical social worker.
“It is about making the service more accessible to them; so that women can see for themselves what supports are there for them if they want to share a concern,” she said.
Dr Naro Imcha, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, said it “brings a multidisciplinary team together at one location so that a care plan can be quickly developed with all their inputs”.