independent

Sunday 31 August 2014

'New' Mallow Hospital, phase 1, opens for business

BILL BROWNE

Published 05/09/2013 | 05:26

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Assistant Directors of Nursing Sheila O'Sullivan and Brenda Herlihy, with Mary Owens, Director of Nursing

THE first phase of a €4.5 million development at Mallow General Hospital opened its doors to the public on Tuesday.

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THE first phase of a €4.5 million development at Mallow General Hospital opened its doors to the public on Tuesday.

The newly built eight-bed 'medical assessment unit' (MAU) has been built to replace a temporary facility that had been running at the hospital since last March.

The unit, which will be open seven days from 8am-8pm, will treat patients referred directly by their GP suffering from symptoms including chest pain, shortness of breath and blackouts.

The HSE has pledged that patients arriving at the unit will be seen within an hour by a senior doctor who will have ready access to diagnostics including x-rays, blood tests and scans.

The unit will be staffed by a specialist team of consultants, nurses, healthcare assistants and dieticians under the clinical lead of Dr Ceara Harte, general physician with a special interest in cardiology.

Dr Harte will be supported by Dr's Cornelius Cronin and John Kiely, general physicians with a special interest in gastroenterology and respiratory respectively and geriatrician Dr Ciara McGlade.

Adrian Hayes will be the lead nurse in the unit under the direction of nursing director Mary Owens.

Dr Harte said the opening of the new unit would bring multiple benefits for patients.

"Medical assessment units facilitate early diagnosis and initiation of appropriate treatment," said Dr Harte. "This will result in patients being discharged earlier, a reduction in the volume of medical admissions and a shortening in the length of time patients spend in hospital." The opening of the new unit was given a warm welcome by Junior Minister Sean Sherlock.

"As the man who brought the €4.5 million to the table, I am pleased to see this phase of the development operational. I am also delighted at the provision of respiratory, cardiac and geriatric cover in line with the commitment given in the reconfiguration process," said Minister Sherlock.

However, he was not satisfied that all of the questions relating to out of hours referrals had been answered.

"If a senior house officer (SHO) is in the hospital out of hours and a GP refers a patient the protocols to admit that patient must be written down clearly so that everyone has clarity," said Deputy Sherlock.

"Things are moving in the right direction, but there is still work to be done," he added.

The next phase of the overall reconfiguration process will come to fruition in October with the opening of a new endoscopy unit at the hospital.

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