Prof Colette Cowan
The commitment to build the new 96-bed block at University Hospital Limerick and to bring University Maternity Hospital on to the same campus has been welcomed by Prof Colette Cowan, CEO of UHL.
The need to increase inpatient accommodation at University Hospital Limerick has been obvious for a number of years, she said.
UL Hospitals Group fully supported the reforms outlined in Slaintecare in terms of a patient-centred, integrated model of care; additional supports for primary and community care; prevention and self-management of disease and hospital avoidance.
However, the demographic pressures alone made plain the requirement for more inpatient accommodation at UHL, said Prof Cowan.
The CEO said that the most visible impact will be to greatly improve the experience of patients in reducing the numbers waiting for a bed. It will also allow the new ED, Acute Medical Assessment Unit, Surgical Assessment Unit and Surgical Day Ward to function in the manner in which they are designed.
“Much progress has already been made in terms of the planning and design of this 96-bed project and this will ensure delays are kept to a minimum once the funding plan and construction schedule have been arranged. The inpatient block will be constructed directly above the new ED. It will comprise single rooms with ensuites over four floors that will not only make for more comfortable surroundings for our patients but will also provide us with the isolation facilities required for proper infection prevention and control.,” she said.
Prof Cowan said that no less compelling a case was made for the relocation of the maternity hospital to the UHL campus.
The maternity and its dedicated staff had served the women and babies of the MidWest well for almost 60 years but it had long since outgrown its current site on Ennis Road, she said.
Approximately 4,500 babies a year are born at UMHL. But the main reason for relocation is not the limited footprint of the current site but securing the best interests of mothers and babies in this region.
“These developments for UHL align with the objectives of the UL Hospitals Group Strategic Plan 2018-2022 which we will soon be launching. A strong UHL is also good news for Ennis, Nenagh, Croom Orthopaedic and St John’s hospitals as it will allow us to attract the specialist staff that will benefit the group as a whole and also provide services in our model 2 hospitals,” said Prof Cowan.