New €2m Injury Unit opens at Ennis Hospital

The doors of the new €2m Injury Unit at Ennis Hospital have opened this morning, bringing an immediate improvement in the clinical environment and experience for healthcare staff and the thousands of patients who use this service every year.

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A purpose-built facility adjacent to the main entrance of Ennis Hospital, the new Injury Unit replaces the existing unit that has operated out of the main hospital building since 2013.

The new Injury Unit boasts five separate patient assessment bays, with the highest standards in Infection Prevention and Control (IP&C) compliance. There is also a brightly decorated waiting room and a separate triage area. Other utilities include a clinical room, storeroom, senior nurse manager’s office space, and a nurses’ station.

Laid out in approximately 300 square metres (almost 3,230 square feet) of floor space, the Injury Unit cost just under €2m—funded from the HSE capital budget—and the project was managed by HSE Capital & Estates.

Joe Cassidy, Acting Director of Nursing at Ennis Hospital, said the new unit would bring immediate improvements for staff and significantly enhance the overall patient experience at Ennis Hospital.

“The existing Injury Unit within the hospital had no dedicated waiting area or triage room, and space for only three patient assessment bays. With demand for Injury Unit services on the increase in Ennis and across the Midwest, the opening of this new facility could not be more timely. It is a first class working environment for our staff and provides the local population with the kind of patient experience they deserve when they need treatment for injuries,” Mr Cassidy said.

UL Hospitals Group has three Injury Units—in Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s Hospital—where tens of thousands of people over the age of 5 years are treated every year for minor injuries such as sprains, breaks and burns. In 2021, of the total of 33,853 patients who attended all three units, 11,219 attended Ennis. This was a 17.6% increase in demand on 2020 usage of the Ennis unit, returning it to pre-pandemic levels of use.

The Group’s Injury Units help to ensure that the Emergency Department at University Hospital Limerick can prioritise emergency care for the sickest and most seriously injured patients who need it most.

For patients over the age of 5 years who suffer sprains, breaks and burns, the Injury Units are the most efficient treatment pathway. The IU teams can also treat sports injuries, including hand and ankle injuries, and can remove foreign bodies from the eye, ear and nose. Staff also provide quick access to diagnostics and x-rays, make the necessary arrangements to refer patients to specialist care when required, and arrange follow-up appointments within the Injury Unit where necessary.

The Ennis Hospital Injury Unit is staffed by an expert team, led by Dr Cormac Mehigan, Consultant in Emergency Medicine. The team is composed of emergency medicine physicians, advanced nurse practitioners, nurses, health care assistants and administrative support, working together to provide a high quality and timely service for people with a wide range of non-emergency injuries. Registered Advanced Nurse Practitioners (RANP) and Candidate ANPs play a particularly important role, with their ability to perform full episodes of care on patients from admission to discharge, as well as organising follow-up appointments and ongoing reviews, and referral to expert care when required.

Mary Fitzpatrick, Senior Staff Nurse; Dr Cormac Mehigan, Consultant Emergency Medicine and Injury Unit team lead; and Rachael Flynn, Clinical Nurse Manager (CNM1).

Dr Mehigan described the facilities in the new Injury Unit as a leap forward for patient experience, and a significant step up in the clinical environment, befitting the standards of service being delivered by his team.

He explained: “The Injury Unit in Ennis, and the units in St John’s and Nenagh, are an excellent alternative for people where we can provide fast, effective treatment for minor injuries that don’t require a lengthy wait in the Emergency Department in UHL. It’s a good idea for people to familiarise themselves with the kinds of injuries we can treat in the Unit. That information is available on the HSE website [see link at end of this release], in addition to the contact numbers for each Injury Unit if you need to call ahead.”

“Sometimes, patients do attend the Injury Unit with serious, life-threatening injuries, as well as chest pain and abdominal pain, and we refer those patients to the Emergency Department, but for all minor injuries, the Injury Unit in Ennis, or our sister sites, should be the first port of call,” Dr Mehigan said.

All three Injury Units are open seven days, 365 days a year. No appointment is necessary. The Ennis Hospital Injury Unit (open 8am-8pm) can be contacted on 065-6863121. The Nenagh unit (open 8am-8pm) can be contacted on 067-42311, and the St John’s Hospital unit (open 8am-7pm), can be reached on 061-462303.

For information on Injury Unit services, go to this link on the HSE website, or Google ‘HSE, Injury Units’.

Dr Ruth Goodall, Injury Unit Physician; Evan Wallace, Registered Advanced Nurse Practitioner; and Brenda Bleach, Registered Advanced Nurse Practitioner.
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