Tuesday, July 28, 2020

A temporary modular unit is to be put in place at Mayo University Hospital to help the hospital deal with capacity problems during the winter months.

The unit will provide additional treatment cubicles and increase capacity as an interim measure. The project is being progressed as part of Covid Emergency works and as such is exempt from planning permission.

The plans were revealed at a meeting of the Regional Health Forum West today.

It is hoped to have the unit in place by December. It is expected to include seven individual treatment rooms.

Separately, a feasibility study is currently being finalised for the long-awaited rapid build permanent extension to the current Emergency Department at MUH. The project will also include the relocation of the Medical Assessment Unit to the first floor of the proposed extension. This feasibility study will establish the overall costs and approval will then be sought to progress the project in 2021.

Tony Canavan, CEO of the Saolta Hospital Group, told the Health Forum that a lot of working is going on in the background to try and steel hospitals against expected problems this winter. “But we are all deeply concerned about what lies ahead,” he warned.

Mr Canavan said capacity and waiting list issues ‘have not gone away’ and hospitals in the region are working to increase the number of patients they can care for.

The Saolta CEO said hospitals are scaling back up many services but stated that the pace will be slow.

We won’t be seeing things like crowded waiting rooms. Services will proceed at a slightly slower pace. That is simply necessary in order to manage Covid-19 safely,” said Mr Canavan.

He expressed anxiety about the impact of the re-opening of society on health services and said the number of holidaymakers in the West in recent weeks is a particular concern.

Meanwhile, it will be at least a number of weeks before the easing of visiting restrictions at hospitals can be examined.

Independent councillor Michael Kilcoyne asked when visiting hours for non-Covid patients are likely to resume.

I can’t give an answer to that question right now. We are extremely concerned about being able to manage visiting arrangements,” said Mr Canavan.

He said he appreciated how important visits are to patients but added that it would bring ‘a risk that right now we don’t feel we are in a position to manage.’

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