The newly built Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) at Mallow General Hospital opened today, 3rd September 2013 replacing the temporary facility that it had been operating in since last March.
The new eight bed unit, which will be open seven days a week from 8am to 8pm, will treat patients referred directly by their GP/Southdoc, who are suffering from a recent onset of symptoms such as breathlessness, chest pain or blackouts. The unit only accepts patients referred by their GP or Southdoc to ensure that only patients suitable for treatment present at this Unit.
Patients referred to the MAU will be seen by a senior doctor within an hour of arrival who has ready access to diagnostics such as x-rays, blood tests, scans, etc. The MAU is staffed by a team including consultant physicians, nurses, healthcare assistants, dieticians, administrators, caterers and housekeepers.
The clinical lead for the MAU is Dr. Ceara Harte, general physician with a special interest in cardiology who is supported by Dr. Cornelius Cronin, general physician with a special interest in gastroenterology, Dr John Kiely, general physician with a special interest in respiratory who started this April and the newly appointed geriatrician Dr. Ciara McGlade who commenced duty in August. Adrian Higgins, CNM2 will be the lead nurse in the Unit under the guidance of Mary Owens, Director of Nursing.
The new unit is part of a €4.5m capital investment in Mallow General Hospital which consists of a two storey extension with the Medical Assessment Unit on the ground floor and a replacement Endoscopy Suite suitable for the following procedures gastroscopy (upper digestive tract), sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy (lower intestine) and cystoscopy (urninary system) on the first floor due to open in October 2013.
Dr. Ceara Hart, clinical lead MAU said “The opening of the new unit has multiple benefits for patients. Medical assessment units facilitate early diagnosis and initiation of appropriate treatment. This results in patients being discharged earlier, a reduction in the volume of medical admissions and a shortening in the length of time patients spend in hospital. Southdoc/GPs can also admit medical patients directly to the Hospital outside the opening times of the Medical Assessment Unit and this is proving very successful.”
Ms. Mary Owens, Director of Nursing at Mallow General Hospital welcomed the opening of the new Medical Assessment Unit and said, “The Medical Assessment Unit provides rapid assessment, diagnosis and early treatment based on the patients’ needs. The new Unit will make a positive contribution to the management of beds in the hospital and will most importantly, lead to better care for medically ill patients. The changes that have taken place and will take place over the coming months in the hospital will ensure patients attending Mallow General Hospital will receive the right care, in the right place and from the right person. Since opening, attendance to both units is increasing stealthily. In the five months since opening, 1,770 patients have been seen in the LIU and 1,506 in MAU and feedback received from patients is highly satisfactory.”
Commenting on the opening of the MAU, local North Cork Independent Cllr. John Paul O’ Shea said ” It is wonderful to see the long awaited investment into Mallow Gneral Hospital becoming a reality today. This development secure the future viability of the hospital ensuring it treats medical patients with the very best of facilities. I want to wish the staff well in their new and enhanced facility where I am sure they will attend to many North Cork patients in the years to come”.
In March of this year, the Emergency Department in Mallow General Hospital was replaced by an Urgent Care Centre, comprising a Medical Assessment Unit (in a temporary location) and a Local Injury Unit (open seven days per week) with patients attending the Unit that best meets their health care needs.
The Local Injury Unit is also open seven days per week from 8am to 8pm. It treats adults and children over five years of age with minor injuries such as a suspected broken bone, a sprain, a facial injury or a minor scald or burn. Staff can take x-rays and apply plaster casts and stitches.
This development follows the recommendations in the reports of the Health Information and Quality Authority on the Mid Western Regional Hospital at Ennis (2009) and Mallow General Hospital (2011) and are in line with the recommendations in the 2013 Department of Health Report Securing the Future of Smaller Hospitals: a Framework for Development and the recommendations of the HSE’s Acute Medicine Programme.