Portiuncula University Hospital officially unveils new 12 bed ward

The new Dunlo Ward at Portiuncula University Hospital

The new Dunlo Ward at Portiuncula University Hospital

Portiuncula University Hospital has officially unveiled the Dunlo Ward, a new 12 bed ward comprising of eight single en-suite rooms and two double en-suite rooms.

The additional beds was part of the capital funding from the HSE 2020 Capital Plan, costing in excess of €5 million for the design, build and equipping of the ward.

The new ward is located on the first floor of the hospital and has state of the art facilities including a digital Irish National Early Warning System (INEWS ). This system also provides access to diagnostics including Laboratory and Radiology in each room.

The Dunlo Ward will care for both medical and surgical patients and will provide additional isolation rooms for the hospital.

“This new development will provide additional bed capacity, improved accommodation for our patients and will ease patient flow from the Emergency Department and throughout the hospital, while meeting the required national standards and delivering enhanced quality care to our patients.

“Within the ward there are dedicated beds allocated for end of life care and complex palliative care patients. The Dunlo Ward will also facilitate paediatric patients who are transferring to adult services,” speaking about the opening of the Dunlo Ward, James Keane, Hospital Manager, said.

The addition of 12 new beds in Portiuncula University Hospital was further welcomed this week by local Fine Gael Senator, Aisling Dolan.

“These 12 new beds, to include eight single en-suite rooms, will almost double the existing amount of single bedroom spaces in the hospital. Single rooms are crucial to manage infection control and to give patients dignity and privacy with families.

“There is severe pressure in the Emergency Department with high numbers of patients presenting over the last few weeks. This new development will relieve some of this pressure and also allow space for children and paediatrics in ED. The addition of the 12 new beds is part of a €5 million project which will ultimately realise positive changes for staff and patients at Portiuncula University Hospital.

“Those visiting the hospital can now see the 50 bed ward block. This new build, due to open in 2024, will comprise of 50 single en-suite beds and move patients out of multi-bed wards. We have excellent healthcare teams in the hospital and close to an extra 200 people working in the hospital. However, it is an old building dating back to the 1940s and much space is required.

“Earlier this year, in February 2023, I brought An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to visit Portiuncula University Hospital where he met management and healthcare teams. He visited the Emergency Department and saw the challenges for staff and crowded conditions for patients. Our hospital covers a wide region including 20,000 plus people in Athlone.

“Working with Minister Stephen Donnelly and the Taoiseach’s office, I secured the expansion of Emergency Department in the HSE Capital Plan for 2023. We urgently need a minimum of 10 additional treatment bays. A tender to design this project will be shortly issued by Saolta and to acknowledge the work of General Manager James Keane and his team.

“This year alone over €20 million was allocated to projects in Portiuncula University Hospital to complete the construction of the 50 bed ward block, 12 new beds in the hospital, new CT scanner, as well as general building and electrical upgrades.

“A multi-million euro investment has been allocated to the hospital with staff and patients certain to see major changes in the next year or so. Our hospital caters to over 400,000 across Galway, Roscommon, parts of Westmeath, Offaly and North Tipperary. We have an excellent staff and close to 1,000 people working in this 24/7 acute hospital. It is a lifeline for so many in our region,” Senator Dolan commented.


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