Home » Breaking News » Hospital Group Spends €900,000 Equipping New OPD Unit In Ennis
Fiona Johnson, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Fiona Higgins, Staff Nurse, Claire Lenane, Clinical Nurse Manager, and Kate Meade, Staff Nurse, at the new Ennis Hospital Outpatients Department.

Hospital Group Spends €900,000 Equipping New OPD Unit In Ennis

THE first Clare patients will be treated in the new Outpatients’ Department (OPD) for Ennis Hospital from today (Monday). With a total floor space of 1,300 square metres, the new OPD in Ennis has 15 clinical rooms, in addition to a phlebotomy bay, four waiting areas, offices and staff changing rooms.

The new department, which has an equipping allocation of €900,000 for 2021, will allow for the relocation of services such as cardiac rehabilitation and, later this year, radiology and general x-ray. All activity in the OPD is scheduled and operates on an appointment-only basis.

Situated at Westpoint Retail Park on the Kilrush Road, the new department will initially house the services currently based in Ennis Hospital, and also allow for the expansion of outpatient services into the future and a better patient experience.

Greater capacity, in addition to facilities that are future-proofed with ongoing advances in telehealth, will assist with efforts to reduce waiting periods and manage waiting lists.

In 2019, there were 15,176 outpatient appointments in Ennis OPD (not including warfarin, physiotherapy, psychiatry and CNS-led clinics).

This decreased by 22.1% to 11,818, of which approximately 40% were conducted virtually due to the pandemic restrictions last year.

“This beautifully designed, state of the art facility is what the people of Clare have long been entitled to for outpatient services,” said UL Hospitals’ Group CEO, Colette Cowan.

The initial phase of operations for the new facility will entail a relocation of outpatient staff currently based at Ennis Hospital, at a pace determined by the hospital’s re-emergence from Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions.

The HSE’s Covid-19 recovery plan envisages that outpatient clinics around the country will be resumed to the levels set out in the 2021 National Service Plan by the third quarter of this year. Up to 30% of all consultations will take place over the phone or by video call.

he primary reason for this relocation is that the current building at Ennis Hospital was deemed no longer suitable for the demands for a modern day Outpatients Service.

Outgoing project lead Sheila Mulcair is delighted the new department has opened on schedule before the end of March.

“Access is much improved. Currently in the hospital, it can be very difficult to get parking on some days of the week. But here, there is ample parking, easy access from the bypass, and the building is bright, airy and modern, developed specifically with patients’ needs in mind. For the people of the Mid-West region, it’s nothing less than what they deserve,” Ms Mulcair added.

Clare County Council granted permission for the project in October 2018, and works began in 2019, interrupted only by a two-month period in 2020 due to the social and physical distancing restrictions imposed nationally in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This is very much a forward-looking development,” said Noreen Spillane, Chief Operations Officer, UL Hospitals’ Group.

“Westpoint supports the strategies outlined in the Sláintecare programme, which aims to enhance health promotion and help people to stay healthy, and provide services that deliver the very best in modern healthcare, in the best location, when they are needed, while providing value for money to the population that funds them.”

Department manager, Claire Lenane, said, “The team in Ennis OPD are very much looking forward to welcoming our patients to this modern, patient-centred facility, which will allow for expansion and developments of services, and provide an enhanced experience for patients who attend here.


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