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Project Ireland a 'signal day' for UL Hospitals Group

Saturday, 24th February, 2018 9:00am
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Project Ireland a 'signal day' for UL Hospitals Group

Colette Cowan, CEO, UL Hospitals Group

Project Ireland a 'signal day' for UL Hospitals Group

Colette Cowan, CEO, UL Hospitals Group

This is a signal day for UL Hospitals Group and all its staff and for all of our patients and their loved ones in the MidWest.
 
Project Ireland 2040 represents a commitment to the two most significant outstanding capital projects we have presented to government in recent years, the 96-bed ward block at UHL and the relocation of University Maternity Hospital Limerick to the UHL site. We are delighted to see that commitment formalised today.
 
The need to increase inpatient accommodation at University Hospital Limerick has been obvious for a number of years. UL Hospitals Group fully supports the reforms outlined in Slaintecare in terms of a patient-centred,  integrated model of care; additional supports for primary and community care; prevention and self-management of disease and hospital avoidance. However, the demographic pressures alone make plain the requirement for more inpatient accommodation at UHL. The most visible impact will be to greatly improve the experience of patients in reducing the numbers waiting for a bed. It will also allow our new Emergency Department, our Acute Medical Assessment Unit, our Surgical Assessment Unit and Surgical Day Ward to function in the manner in which they are designed.
 
Much progress has already been made in terms of the planning and design of this 96-bed project and this will ensure delays are kept to a minimum once the funding plan and construction schedule have been arranged. The inpatient block will be constructed directly above the new ED. It will comprise single rooms with ensuites over four floors that will not only make for more comfortable surroundings for our patients but will also provide us with the isolation facilities required for proper infection prevention and control. For too long, the nightingale ward accommodation that predominates at UHL has meant we have been in many cases facing 21st century challenges with 20th century infrastructure. This will change before too long.
 
No less compelling a case is made for the relocation of University Maternity Hospital Limerick to the UHL campus. University Maternity Hospital Limerick and its dedicated staff have served the women and babies of the MidWest well for almost 60 years but it has long since outgrown its current site on the Ennis Road. Approximately 4,500 babies a year are born at UMHL. But the main reason for relocation is not the limited footprint of the current site but securing the best interests of mothers and babies in this region.
 
International best practice requires that maternity units are co-located alongside major tertiary hospitals where women and babies have the assurance provided by ease of access to specialist medical and surgical services for adult and paediatric patients, state-of-the-art diagnostics and access to intensive care and high dependency units.
 
Complications and comorbidities in pregnancy continue to increase and we owe it to women with renal, cardiovascular, eye, thyroid or other problems associated with pregnancy that they have access to specialist staff and services when required.
 
Again much of the groundwork on planning and design of a new maternity hospital for Limerick and the MidWest has already been done to ensure the project is shovel-ready when the time comes.
 
These developments for UHL align with the objectives of the UL Hospitals Group Strategic Plan 2018-2022, which we will soon be launching. A strong UHL is also good news for Ennis, Nenagh, Croom Orthopaedic and St John’s, hospitals as it will allow us to attract the specialist staff that will benefit the group as a whole and also provide services in our model 2 hospitals.
 
Significant capital developments elsewhere, including the National Children’s Hospital, three new hospitals for elective surgery, the redevelopment of the National Rehabilitation Hospital will also impact for the better on our work at UL Hospitals. The plan in addition includes exciting initiatives in primary and community care, in e-health and for our colleagues in the National Ambulance Service, including the provision of a new ambulance base for Limerick.
 
UL Hospitals Group is also the largest employer in the Mid West and as such we welcome the positive developments announced today for Limerick, Shannon and the wider Mid-West that will further improve quality of life in a growing and dynamic region and will help us to recruit and retain the staff we need to support these exciting capital developments.

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