Brenda Bleach, Advanced Nurse Practitioner pictured as The Minister for Health, Mr Stephen Donnelly TD officially opened the €2m Injury Unit at Ennis Hospital, one of the Mid-West’s principal centres for treatment of minor injuries. Pic. Brian Arthur
The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD has officially opened the €2m Injury Unit at Ennis Hospital, one of the Mid-West’s principal centres for treatment of minor injuries
The visit by the Minister comes at a time when more people than ever before are attending the Injury Unit in Ennis–and its sister facilities in Nenagh and St John’s Hospitals–for treatment of sprains, breaks, burns and other non-life-threatening injuries and ailments.
In 2023 up to June 14th, there has been a total of 5,831 attendances at Ennis Hospital Injury Unit, and in 2022 there were a record 11,854 (+25% YoY) new attendances at the facility, where patients can access treatment for minor injuries without a GP referral, seven days a week, including Bank Holidays.
All three of the Group’s injury units are playing an increasingly important part in ensuring that patients requiring treatment for minor injuries avoid attending the busy Emergency Department at University Hospital Limerick, which just this Monday had a record daily attendance of 292 patients.
In officially opening the new Unit Minister Donnelly stated, “Local Injury Units such as this new facility here in Ennis enable us to provide high quality, timely care for people with non-emergency injuries and in many cases this care can be provided closer to the patients’ homes. As such these Units embody the Sláintecare principles of ‘right care, right time, right place’, and help ensure that patients who require true emergency care are managed safely in a larger hospital environment.”
Minister Donnelly added, “The benefit of this new Unit is clearly evident when you consider that over 11,800 patients attended the service here last year, which represents a 25% increase on 2021 figures. And this trend is continuing this year given that over 5,800 patients have already attended the Ennis Injury Unit to-date in 2023. This Injury Unit, along with similar Units in Nenagh and St John’s, is a valuable addition to the range of services provided within the wider UL Hospital Group and demonstrates our ambition to develop, improve and deliver the very best health care for people in the Mid-West region.”
Welcoming Minister Donnelly to Ennis Hospital, the CEO of UL Hospitals Group, Prof Colette Cowan, said, “We are delighted that Minister Donnelly has come to Ennis to open our Injury Unit and see the excellent work that our healthcare teams our doing to ensure those who need access to less acute medical care are getting it, efficiently, and in an appropriate clinical setting.
“Patient experience times in this Injury Unit are averaging about 80 minutes. This is a tribute to the expertise and efficiency of our staff, which we know from service user feedback is greatly appreciated by our patients,” she added.
Prof Cowan paid tribute to HSE Capital Estates and to all the design team – Martins Construction; Pascall & Watson Architects; Don O’Malley and John Britton – for delivering “a truly patient-centric design and a first-class clinical environment for our healthcare teams”.
Minister Donnelly also met with staff in the hospital’s Medical Assessment Unit, a GP-referral facility for medical patients, which also has sister units in Nenagh and St John’s. The units recently benefited from an investment of €5.2m, approved by HSE CEO Bernard Gloster, to secure the existing weekend service at Ennis into the future, and provide the necessary staffing resources for seven-day opening of the MAUs in St John’s and Nenagh. This move has created an additional 7,176 patient referral slots across the three sites every year, providing GPs with a significant enhancement of acute medical referral alternatives to ED at weekends.
Dr Terry Hennessy, Clinical Lead for Model 2 Hospitals, UL Hospitals Group, commented: “The strong and sustained growth in activity at our Injury Unit and in our Medical Assessment Unit in Ennis is a powerful vote of confidence in our services from the public and from GPs in County Clare and across the wider region. Ennis now has by far the busiest MAU of any Model 2 hospital in the country and we continue to increase staffing levels and access to this service, through additional slots available to our GPs and the new pathway for appropriate 999 calls.”