€10m to fund new theatres at Limerick hospital as ‘centre of excellence’ plan is progressed

David Hurley

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David Hurley

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david.hurley@limerickleader.ie

€10m to fund new theatres at  Limerick hospital as ‘centre of excellence’ plan is progressed

UL Hospitals Group and HSE staff with Clancy contracting staff, pictured at the recent handover of the new 24-bed single-room block in Croom Orthopaedic Hospital - PICTURE: Tom Ryan Casey

Ongoing development works at Croom Orthopaedic Hospital have been given a further boost, with confirmation that additional funding of €10m has been secured for the development of a new theatre suite that will emphatically underscore the hospital’s status as a regional centre of excellence in orthopaedics, rheumatology, pain management and scheduled surgery.

The new theatre suite will be established on the first floor of the new 24-bed block which is currently being equipped.

The works will include four new theatres, a first stage recovery room and reception area, in addition to a new Sterile Services Department and other ancillary support spaces.

With an overall floor area of approximately 1,700 square metres, the works are expected to be substantially complete by the end of this year and fully equipped by March 2021.

The development of the new 24-bed block on the site was initiated in Spring as part of the national response to Covid-19. The new beds, and the new theatre suite and Sterile Services Department, grew out of plans already in place to establish Croom Orthopaedic Hospital as the Mid-Western centre of excellence.

Margaret Gleeson, Chief Director of Nursing & Midwifery at UL Hospital Group, said the works will modernise and double the current theatre capacity at the Hospital.

“This is a high quality development of four state-of-the-art theatres and a modern Sterile Services Department, that is going to allow for a major advancement in orthopaedic services,” she said.

“The developments will lead to improved waiting times for patients, and facilitate ongoing advancements in surgical procedures. And of course, the 24 single room en-suite rooms on the ground floor of the development will provide more appropriate and comfortable accommodation for patients,” she added.

Lorraine Rafter, director of Human Resources at the UL Hospitals Group, said the new developments would create exciting employment opportunities in the region, particularly for specialist orthopaedic and theatre nurses.

“There will also be opportunities for educational development, for all staff grades, as a result of the developments here in Croom, and we welcome any queries about employment opportunities in the hospital in light of this development.”

Professor Brian Lenehan, Chief Clinical Director with UL Hospitals, says the new developments have ushered in a “very exciting time” for the hospital, which, he said, will remain “a centre of excellence for elective surgery in the Mid-West for this and future generations”.

“The development is progressing well. It’s an exceptionally high quality build, and I salute all of the main contractors, architects, consultants and sub-contractors involved in it,” said Prof Lenehan who has been a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Croom Orthopaedic Hospital since 2009.

Croom Orthopaedic Hospital is one of the longest established hospitals in the Mid-West. Opening as the County Hospital in 1924, it has been an orthopaedic hospital since 1956, save for a two month period in the early Summer of 2020, when it cared for its first medical patients in almost 70 years as part of UL Hospitals Group’s strategy for managing a significant surge in non-Covid admissions.

Katie Sheehan, Assistant Director of Nursing at Croom Orthopaedic Hospital, welcomed the development as a substantial boost for the community in Croom, as well as for the hospital and UL Hospitals Group.

The UL Hospitals Group strategy is to progress future developments for Croom Orthpaedic Hospital, to include a new Day Ward, second stage recovery, a Pre-Operative Assessment and Admissions Unit and a purpose-built outpatients department, including a new radiology suite.

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