Almost 7,500 patients were treated in the Local Injury Unit at Nenagh Hospital by the end of October, according to figures released by University Hospitals Group.
Over 8,000 patients attended the clinic in 2016.
“Last year, in excess of 8,000 patients attended Nenagh Injury Unit for a wide variety of injuries and we know from feedback received that patients generally have a very positive experience,” said Dr Damien Ryan, Consultant in Emergency Medicine, Nenagh Injury Unit.
Dr Ryan said that they really wanted to make sure that everyone knew just what our unit did and the efficient and high quality care patients will receive when they attend.
UL Hospitals Group is appealing to people in the MidWest to consider all their treatment options at this busy time of year, including the injury units at Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s hospitals.
Patients with appropriate injuries can in many cases be treated for injuries far faster than in the Emergency Department at UHL.
Injury units can treat patients with broken bones, dislocations, sprains, strains, wounds, scalds and minor burns that are unlikely to need overnight admission to hospital.
Staff members take X-rays, reduce joint dislocations, apply plaster casts and treat wounds by stitches or other means.
They provide swift access to tests and x-rays and some have rapid access to physiotherapy services.
Each unit is staffed by consultant-led teams of doctors, advanced nurse practitioners, nurses, radiographers and physiotherapists.
Patients can go directly to the unit or be referred by a GP.
Dr Gerry McCarthy, Consultant in Emergency Medicine, and Clinical Lead of the National Emergency Medicine Programme, said: “Many injury units are reporting fast turnaround times for seeing and treating patients.
In many cases the average time reported is between one and two hours, and sometimes less, so patients can save themselves long waiting times by attending injury units instead of EDs when it is appropriate to do so.
Dr McCarthy explained that each unit is linked to a hub emergency department in an acute hospital.
“If a patient in an injury unit needs to be admitted to hospital they will be referred directly to a linked hospital, in exactly the same way as if they had attended the hub emergency department,” he said.
The units provide the same level of expertise and service as Emergency Departments, for the appropriate group of patients but they are not designed to treat serious head, back or neck injuries, abdominal (stomach) pain, medical illnesses or mental health problems. They do not treat children under the age of five, because of the special requirements of young children attending hospital, with some having a higher age threshold.
There are 11 Local Injury Units across the country, including three in the Mid West at Nenagh, St John's in Limerick and Ennis. All have had consistently good feedback and reaction from the patients they treat.
There is no charge for patients with full medical cards or those patients with valid medical / GP referral letter.
The Nenagh unit is open seven days a week from 8am to 8pm and can treat patients aged five and over for a wide variety of injuries such as broken bones, dislocations, sprains, strains, and minor burns.