Pictured at the University Hospital Limerick Leben Building opening – Professor Niall O’Higgins, Chairman of UL Hospitals Group, Colette Cowan, CEO of UL Hospitals Group, Simon Harris, Minister for Health, Una Anderson-Ryan, Chairman of Special Projects, Parkinson’s Association of Ireland, Patricia Duffy Barber, Chairperson, Cystic Fibrosis Ireland and Jim Canny, Chairman, Mid-Western Hospitals Development Trust at the unveiling of the plaque for the Leben Building. Picture: Cian Reinhardt / ilovelimerick
Minister for Health Simon Harris opened the 16.5 million euro University Hospital Limerick Leben Building on October 7.
The six-storey building has been developed by the HSE in conjunction with three charitable partners: CF Ireland/TLC4CF; the Parkinson’s Association of Ireland through their regional branch and the MidWestern Hospitals Development Trust. It consists of a 24-bed neurology/stroke unit; a nine-bedded cystic fibrosis adult inpatient unit; an outpatient CF unit; a dermatology unit and symptomatic breast unit.
“It is a pleasure to see for myself the greatly enhanced care being provided to patients in such a cutting-edge clinical environment. The University Hospital Limerick Leben Building is a great example of what is achievable when the public system works in tandem with charitable partners,” said Minister Harris.
“These collaborative efforts will ensure that stroke and neurology patients are cared for in a state-of-the-art unit, and with access to a wider range of specialist nursing and allied health supports, and that patients with skin conditions will have access to the most modern dermatology centre in the country. That spirit of partnership will assist people living with CF to have improved care pathways and a clinical environment that offers the gold standard in infection prevention and control. It will also ensure patients who have a diagnosis of or concern over breast disease will now have greater privacy and comfort; with the consultations, diagnostic investigations, prosthetic fitting rooms and minor surgical procedures all taking place under one roof in a bright and welcoming area that is truly patient-centred,” he added.
Chairman of UL Hospitals Group, Prof Niall O’Higgins, commented: “Today we celebrate a stunning development. We congratulate and thank the HSE, the Mid-Western Hospitals Development Trust, all those who are involved in pressing for better care for people with cystic fibrosis and the members of the Parkinson’s Association whose drive for improved services for patients with stroke or Parkinson’s Disease is also recognised today. The time has come to acknowledge the heroic figures who have campaigned for these marvellous facilities and for the expertise associated with them. The Parkinson’s/Stroke Unit, the new Breast Unit and the Cystic Fibrosis Unit and the new Dermatology Centre have already been accepted as being of outstanding quality and among the best in Ireland.”
Colette Cowan, CEO, UL Hospitals Group, said: “This is a red-letter day for everybody involved in the Leben project; for all the staff of UL Hospitals Group and for thousands of patients across the MidWest. We are hugely grateful to our charitable partners who have put in tremendous effort over many years to bring this day about. We are grateful also to the JP McManus Invitational ProAm and the McManus family for their generosity. What has also been an essential piece in the jigsaw has been the enormous support we have received from the Department of Health, the HSE and the National Cancer Control Programme, whether that involved the purchase of advanced diagnostic and other equipment or helping fund approximately 130 extra staff across a range of disciplines at this hospital,” said Ms Cowan.
Patricia Duffy Barber, Chairperson, Cystic Fibrosis Ireland, said: “Cystic Fibrosis Ireland and TLC4CF welcome this wonderful initiative, which is a great example of patient groups working in partnership with their local hospital. The two Cystic Fibrosis floors will make a huge difference to CF patients in the area.”
Una Anderson-Ryan, Chairman of Special Projects, Parkinson’s Association of Ireland, said: “The new Neurological Centre/Acute Stroke Unit, apart from providing greatly improved care for stroke patients in the region, represents the realisation of a long-held ambition to have a modern facility in the region for people with Parkinson’s Disease. Thankfully, and at long last, our desire has been achieved and is evident for all to see at University Hospital Limerick”.
Jim Canny, Chairman, Mid-Western Hospitals Development Trust, said: “The opening of the new state-of-the-art Breast Unit and the Department of Dermatology, developed by the Mid-Western Hospitals Development Trust, marks a new phase in the delivery of services for breast and dermatology patients in the MidWest at UHL and complements the many other health services on the Dooradoyle campus”.
“Needless to say, the Board of the Trust is pleased that we have finally reached this stage. This afternoon marks the culmination of a multi-year programme involving many people whose outstanding support and generosity has had a major input towards this successful outcome, of which we can be justly proud. The Mid-Western Hospitals Development Trust wish to say thank you to one and all and in particular a special thank you to Mr and Mrs JP McManus and the JP McManus Invitation ProAm, without whose generous support the state-of-the-art Breast Unit and Dermatology Centre would not be here today,” Mr Canny added.
According to Shona Tormey, Consultant Breast Surgeon,: “The Breast Unit in UHL, as one of the eight NCCP centres, offers all aspects of breast and breast cancer care including triple assessment, breast reconstruction and Oncoplastic surgery, and dedicated family history clinics. Breast Cancer in UHL includes a dedicated Breast Medical Oncology Unit and Radiotherapy delivered in the UHL Medical Oncology Unit and the Mater Private Radiotherapy on site. The new unit is also a first for this hospital, representing the first time patients coming through rapid access clinics have access to advanced diagnostics and treatment all under one roof.”
And Dr Bart Ramsay, Consultant Dermatologist, said the opening of the new dermatology centre heralded a new era for patients in the region.
“Only those who suffer with skin disease or skin cancer can really understand the impact their condition has on them. The clear feedback we are receiving from our patients is one of immense gratitude for the new Charles Centre for Dermatology. The dermatology patients appreciate its beauty, its sense of spaciousness and calmness as well as the kindness and care they are receiving. The dermatology staff are taking great joy from seeing the positive impact the unit is having on patients.
“The Dermatology patients and staff are deeply appreciative of the support of the Mid Western Hospitals Development Trust in building this remarkable department. We are grateful for the assistance of the Board of the City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital Charity towards equipping and naming it as well as our senior hospital management’s support in developing it. It is simply a stunning achievement by everyone involved,” Dr Ramsay added.
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