UHL’s €1m revamp of surgical units to ease pressure in overcrowded ED

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Jacqui Martin, Allyson O’Mara, Margaret Cassidy and Carol Sheehy at the ewly-refurbished UHL unit

Jacqui Martin, Allyson O’Mara, Margaret Cassidy and Carol Sheehy at the ewly-refurbished UHL unit

UNIVERSITY Hospital Limerick has officially opened its new acute surgical assessment unit and a newly-refurbished €1m pre-operative assessment unit.

The ASAU, which opened its doors in 2010, is an appointment-based and unscheduled care service for rapid assessment and treatment of a variety of acute surgical conditions.

This expanded service, which aims to make available eight beds, instead of four, will allow GPs direct access to emergency surgical services, where patients can be seen by someone in a timely manner.

During a pre-operative assessment in the newly-refurbished unit, located on the first floor of UHL, a comprehensive medical history is taken, scans and bloods are taken and, if required, health promotion programmes are organised.

A spokesperson for the UL Hospitals Group said that the POA unit has also increased in size, which will include private consultation rooms and to allow for more patients to be assessed prior to their surgery.

The spokesperson said that the new units will reduce pressure on the emergency department.

“The new units will offer significantly more privacy and dignity to patients than in the current space,” the spokesperson said.

Per-operative director, Michelle Cooke said that the expanded services provide “a superior work environment” for the staff at the Dooradoyle hospital. 

“We are delighted for our patients and for our staff to have relocated into a bright, spacious clinical environment. For patients it means more privacy and comfort during assessment. Feedback from our service users in the opening days has been very positive.

“Reducing the number of admissions where appropriate is in the interests of patients, staff and the public purse. The ASAU and the pre-op assessment unit/day of surgery admissions unit allow us to use our resources more efficiently and these services are soundly based on a wealth of evidence that demonstrates how alternative pathways can provide safe and quality care to appropriate surgical patients. The new facility allows us to expand these services into the future for the patients of the Mid-West,” she stated. 

Director of nursing, Declan McNamara said that the delivery of the two units was a “key project” for the peri-operative team. 

“The new ASAU will take acute surgical patients from ED and provide access to senior clinical decision makers and nursing staff in a timely fashion, reducing wait times and having early decisions for surgical patients. The previous accommodation and resources in the old SAU were not sufficient to support a modern ASAU / pre-operative assessment and day of surgery Department, which was frequently working above capacity and contributed to inefficient ways of working and poor patient experience. The layout of the new Unit will allow for effective and efficient patient flow, patient privacy and confidentiality,” he explained. 

During 2017, more than 3,780 patients were seen in the ASAU at UHL.