A recruitment process for new staff and the expansion of the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) in Ennis Hospital is underway, according to Michael McNamara, T.D.
The Clare Independent T.D., who has pressed the HSE and Government on the need to increase services at Ennis Hospital since last year’s election, said a non-consultant hospital doctor and a clerical staff member are already in post, creating an additional 4 slots at the MAU.
“Additional resources in nursing, allied health and general support staff are now at various stages of on an ongoing recruitment process. Once these personnel are in place the HSE will increase the number of weekly slots in the MAU by a further 28 slots,” stated Deputy McNamara. “The expansion provides considerable benefits for the people of Clare while it also will help to alleviate pressure on admissions to University Hospital Limerick, something which I have repeatedly highlighted during the past year.”
He continued, “The CEO of the UL Hospitals Group has informed me that the MAU team and Ennis Hospital will continue to work closely with their GP colleagues in County Clare and throughout the region. This model of care is particularly suitable for elderly people and patients suffering from chronic conditions, who will be seen and treated more quickly than they would be in a busy Emergency Department such as in University Hospital Limerick.”
In December, the National Treatment Purchase Fund approved funding which will ultimately result in the creation of an additional 48 slots per week, from 156 to 204 per week, at the MAU. The effect of the changes means the service in Ennis will have effectively doubled since the beginning of 2020.
MAU’s provide assessment, diagnosis and treatment of patients referred with medical conditions including chest infections, COPD, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, fainting episodes, clots in the leg, anaemia or non-acute cardiac problems. Approximately 10% of cases may require admission to hospital and the majority will be discharged with a follow-up review in the unit within 48 hours.
Deputy McNamara said, “The MAU service in Ennis, which saw a 4% increase in referrals in 2019, is well-established and is the only such service in the UL Hospitals Group that has been open on a seven-day basis since 2016. Its hours of operations during weekdays are also longer than in either Nenagh or St. John’s. The expansion of services will be very much welcomed by the people of Clare and the GP community in the county.”