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24-bed block opened by Limerick hospital group battling Covid and overcrowding

24-bed block opened by Limerick hospital group battling Covid and overcrowding

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The opening of the new ‘Maigue Unit’ is a modern, state-of-the-art ward complex, with 24 en-suite single rooms built around a courtyard garden area.

Work is also ongoing on the facility’s first floor to complete a new €15m theatre suite, complete with four new operating theatres, a first stage recovery room, and reception area, and a new Sterile Services Department and other ancillary support spaces.

IN RECENT MONTHS, the UL Hospitals Group opened 98 additional new beds at University Hospital Limerick, which is consistently the most overcrowded country. It reached a peak this year with 81 people on trolleys two weeks ago on February 22nd last.

A 24-bed block was opened at UHL last autumn, followed by a 14-bed block, followed by a phased opening of a 60-bed block between November and the first week of January this year.

There has been a series of temporary closures of older wards in the hospital to facilitate refurbishments.

UHL was treating 20 Covid patients along with a further 21 patients with suspected cases of the virus.

There was only one bed available in the hospital’s 28-bed Critical Care Unit, the only critical care unit in the midwest, where five Covid patients were also being treated.

Chief executive Colette Cowan said the opening of the 24-bed unit in Croom is part of ongoing advancements that will see the phased opening of first floor facilities, including a pre-operative assessment and admissions unit and a new Day Ward 2021.

“I’m grateful to all who have helped with the many different aspects of this project, and I wish every success to staff who have taken up roles in the new unit. It’s an amazing step forward,” Ms. Cowan said.

“The development of the hospital’s pain management service will create additional employment opportunities for pain specialists, from Advanced Nurse Practitioners to staff nurses, in addition to Allied Health professionals and administrative support,” she said.

Katie Sheehan, Assistant Director of Nursing at Croom, said the immediate focus is on recruiting staff nurses interested in orthopedic and theatre services.

Nurses will be able to rotate between Croom and University Hospital Limerick, and as a Group spokesman put it, “benefit from the plentiful postgraduate educational opportunities that flow from UL Hospitals Group’s partnership with the University of Limerick.”

Ms. Sheehan, who started her own career in Croom in the early 1980s, said: “These will be the most modern facilities of their kind in the country, and they’ll enable us to expand our services, creating more capacity in UHL for major surgical cases, and enhancing the skills mix in Croom.”

Lorraine Rafter, Interim Group Director of HR at UL Hospitals Group, said, “active recruitment campaigns are ongoing to support the additional bed capacity and the development of the new theatre complex.”

“We have already had huge interest and have recruited staff, and we’re continuing with active campaigns to build and future-proof the workforce for Croom going forward.”


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