St Johns Hospital Medical Assessment Unit will be one of three units in the Midwest to open for 7-day service
Medical Assessment Units in St John’s and Nenagh Hospitals extend to seven days per week following the announcement of a multi-million euro funding package
UL Hospitals Group has been approved for a multi-million euro funding package that will extend the operational hours of Medical Assessment Units (MAUs) in St John’s and Nenagh Hospitals to seven days per week.
The HSE’s National Acutes Division has approved the Group’s application for €5.2m to provide the necessary staffing resources at St John’s and Nenagh from this weekend, and secure the already extended weekend service at Ennis MAU into the future.
Recruitment has been ongoing for an additional 51.45 WTE across a number of specialities for the MAU services, including medical doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, health and social care professionals and administrative staff.
MAUs are not walk-in services. Referrals to the service are via GPs. The extended opening hours, with all three units open seven days a week, will create an additional total of 7,176 patient slots per annum across the three sites, significantly enhancing the acute medical healthcare referral alternatives available to GPs over the weekends.
This investment will provide further support for the recently introduced ‘999 Ambulance Protocol’ service for appropriate medical patients in the MAUs at Ennis and Nenagh Hospitals.
Ennis-based General Practitioner, Dr Bruce O’Donnell, said: “General Practitioners in the Mid-West are delighted at this announcement to increase services and availability at the Medical Assessment Units across the region. The MAUs provide a valuable, vital and timely service to GPs and patients, and have done for many years.
Dr O’Donnell added: “The Trojan efforts of all staff involved in delivering this service, including clinicians, nurses, support staff and the staff in the Bed Bureau, has been a lifeline to General Practice in the management of complex cases during turbulent times in the health service over the past number of years.
“This move will have a very positive impact for all stakeholders in the Midwest and help alleviate the pressures on our colleagues in the Emergency Department and UHL.” In 2022, more than 12,737 patients were referred to the MAUs in the three hospitals, which have played an integral role in ED avoidance, patient flow to Model 2 hospitals, and appropriate community referrals.
CEO of UL Hospitals Group Prof Colette Cowan is delighted that the work to expand the opening hours in the MAU can now proceed: “I’m grateful to the new HSE Chief Executive, Bernard Gloster, for his support for our funding application to expand the MAU services in our Model 2 hospitals here in the Midwest.”
“Weekend opening of all three MAUs will greatly assist hospital management and our GP colleagues to avoid unnecessary attendances at ED and admission to UHL. The regional’s main acute hospital, serving the population of Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary, continues to experience an exceptionally high level of demand for emergency care and inpatient beds at present. In that context, the €5.2m investment will greatly enhance an already invaluable service for UL Hospitals Group,” Prof Cowan added.