Plans to convert Scoil Carmel will reduce need to cancel UHL operations

The new Scoil Carmel site may help reduce wait times at UHL.

PLANS to develop the former Scoil Carmel in Limerick as a medical and surgical hub have been confirmed to the Limerick Post.

University Hospital Limerick has entered a planning application for for two new operating theatres and two procedure rooms in a state-of-the-art development on the Scoil Carmel site on O’Connell Avenue.

It is proposed that the new surgical hub will operate as a satellite of University Hospital Limerick with key staff moving between the sites.

The ability to perform day and routine procedures outside of the acute hospital in Dooradoyle will reduce the need to cancel planned procedures in the face of overcrowding and high demand on the hospital services.

A statement on behalf of the hospital said that “surgical hubs are a key priority for the HSE and UL Hospitals Group in improving access for surgical patients and reducing waiting lists. These plans are aligned with the Programme for Government and key HSE policies including Sláintecare and the National Waiting List Action Plan”.

Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter

“The Sláintecare Report (2017) calls for an end to long waiting times and sets out ambitious access targets. The report highlights the need for greater separation between emergency and elective care in order to create the ringfenced elective capacity to support achievement of the Sláintecare access targets.

“This has become an increasing problem in UHL in recent years with frequent cancellations of scheduled care patients to accommodate medical patients admitted through the emergency department and time-critical and emergency surgery”.

Professor Colette Cowan, CEO of UL Hospitals Group, said that patients across the Mid West stood to benefit considerably through the development of the Limerick Surgical Hub.

“We are currently on course to meet key national waiting list targets for 2023, but the Sláintecare targets are more ambitious still. This proposed development is integral to our plans to improve access and reducing wait times for our surgical patients. It will mean fewer patients will have their procedures cancelled and it will improve patient outcomes by reducing complications and risks associated with delayed access to care.

“We expect that, from a health system point of view, considerable efficiencies and cost savings are to be gained through the development of this hub and we look forward to working with all stakeholders across the region to make it a success,” Professor Cowan said.