IRELAND’S largest and most advanced emergency department has opened today (Monday) at University Hospital Limerick.
A €24 million project spans 3,850 square metres of floor space, over three times the size of the old department. In 2016, UHL had the busiest emergency department in the country, with over 64,000 attendances.
Almost 100 additional staff have been recruited to work in the emergency department, which has increased capacity for patients and has been designed with the input of senior clinicians to improve patient flow, reduce patient experience times (PET) and improve outcomes for the sickest patients.
The new emergency department features the most advanced diagnostic equipment of any such facility in Ireland or the UK, including a c. €1 million, 128-slice CT scanner which is mounted on a track to minimise the movement of the sickest patients in resuscitation.
The facility is separated into different pods and zones, allowing for paediatric patients, major cases, minor cases etc to be treated separately, matched to the most appropriate clinical expertise and moved to the next stage of the their care in the most efficient manner.
Each separate area has its own isolation facilities that offer a gold standard in infection prevention and control. The number of triage areas has increased from one to four, including a separate room for paediatric triage.
There is an advanced pharmacy dispensing system next to staff bases throughout the department and the pneumatic chute system for sending specimens to the laboratories is now available throughout the ED as opposed to a single point of access previously.
Other features include a decontamination suite; two family rooms attached to a viewing room and garden for bereaved relatives; an internal courtyard which can be accessed by patients; a dedicated space for patients presenting with a mental health crisis; significantly improved staff facilities and a simulation room and education/training facilities that will significantly enhance the attractiveness of UHL as a major teaching hospital.
Speaking at the opening, Professor Colette Cowan, CEO, UL Hospitals Group, said, “We are delighted to open the most modern ED in Europe. It is something our patients and our staff have been waiting a long time for and we thank the HSE and the Department of Health for their support in delivering an emergency department the whole country can be proud of.”