A further expansion of the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) at Ennis Hospital is currently underway with a staff recruitment process ongoing, according to Deputy Michael McNamara.
The Clare Independent TD, who has pressed the HSE and Government on the need to increase services at Ennis Hospital since last year’s election, says a non-consultant hospital doctor, a clerical staff member, and additional members of staff in cardiology services are already in post, while three additional nursing staff are scheduled to take up their posts within the next fortnight.
Additional resources in allied health, general support and radiology are also at various stages of an ongoing recruitment process, the HSE confirmed in a response to representations made on the matter by Deputy McNamara.
“The first phase of the expansion was effected in December 2020 with four additional slots being provided from Monday to Friday,” stated Deputy McNamara.
“Once the personnel that are currently being recruited are in place, the HSE says it will be in a position to increase the number of weekly slots in the MAU by a further 32 between Monday and Friday and 20 at weekends in line with an allocation from the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF).”
The Ennis MAU provides diagnoses 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. The Ennis MAU 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.
Deputy McNamara says the expansion of Ennis MAU will provide considerable benefits for the people of Clare, while it will help to alleviate pressure on admissions to University Hospital Limerick (UHL).
Deputy McNamara continued, “GPs – or the Emergency Department – initially assess and refer patients for appointment on the same day or the following day. The multidisciplinary team on-site led by physician Dr. Tom Peirce, works towards same-day diagnosis, treatment and discharge, and sees all patients within an hour of arrival.”
He also praised the HSE and the staff of the Ennis MAU.
“The MAU team at Ennis Hospital works closely with their GP colleagues in Clare and throughout the region. This model of care which they have developed 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 UHL,” concluded Deputy McNamara.