Health minister Simon Harris opens new UL Hospitals Cataract Centre in Nenagh

Minister Simon Harris chats to receptionists Deirdre Whelan and Michelle Morrissey and nurse Bernie Morrissey at the official opening of the UL Hospitals Cataract Centre at Nenagh Hospital

Minister Simon Harris chats to receptionists Deirdre Whelan and Michelle Morrissey and nurse Bernie Morrissey at the official opening of the UL Hospitals Cataract Centre at Nenagh Hospital

HEALTH Minister Simon Harris has opened the new UL Hospitals Cataract Centre at Nenagh Hospital that will see suitable cataract surgery migrate from University Hospital Limerick.

Nenagh has become a national centre of excellence for cataract surgery under the nationally funded initiative that is expected to have an impact on waiting lists.

Speaking in Nenagh this Monday, Minister Harris said: “I am delighted to be here this morning to officially open the UL Hospitals Cataract Centre at Nenagh. This centre represents just under €1 million in capital investment and will be a centre of excellence for the UL Hospitals Group and surrounding counties.

“Improving access to treatment for patients is a key priority of Government. The opening of the UL Hospitals Cataract Centre at Nenagh Hospital will deliver on this objective, providing improvements for patients in the Mid-West and surrounding areas,” he added.

All suitable cataract surgery within UL Hospitals Group is to migrate from UHL to the new theatres at Nenagh. The first procedure under the new initiative was completed in July of this year and with one list of 10-12 patients a day being completed once a week, it is expected that 200 patients will be taken off the surgical waiting list by the end of 2018.

When the theatre in Nenagh moves from one-day-a-week to five days a week in 2019, it is expected at least 10 times that number of procedures will be carried out in a full year.

Prof Colette Cowan, CEO, UL Hospitals Group, thanked the Minister, the Acute Hospitals Division and the NTPF for “putting their trust in Nenagh and in the UL Hospitals Group to deliver on this important national initiative”.

“Our staff were conscious that there was great potential in Nenagh, in line with the national clinical programme for Ophthalmology Model of Eye Care, to make a real difference in cutting waiting lists for cataract surgery initially in the Mid-West and ultimately around the country. The demand for cataract surgery will only increase as the population grows and ages.

“This national centre helps secure the future of Nenagh Hospital and means more timely, more accessible access for patients to the state-of-the-art theatres here and to the expert multidisciplinary staff that operate here under the corporate and clinical governance structures of the UL Hospitals Group.”

Mr Ismail Tuwir, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon, UL Hospitals Group, said the centre at Nenagh would deliver real benefits for patients.

“I am thrilled with the opening of the new ophthalmology centre in Nenagh Hospital. This space will allow us to increase the number of cataract operations I am able to perform on a weekly basis, therefore reducing the wait time on the public waiting list. I look forward to this opportunity to better serve the Midwest,” said Mr Tuwir.

On his visit to Nenagh, Minister Harris was also given a tour of the state-of-the-art new inpatient accommodation for medical patients. The first phase of this €4.6 million project has been handed over and the first 18 patients (16 single rooms and one two-bedded room) are due to be occupied by the end of this month.