New ED to provide more capacity and privacy

University Hospital Galway’s new temporary emergency department, which will be completed shortly, will provide additional capacity and privacy for patients.

The facility will be able to cater for 43 patients, compared to 34 previously, in single, closed cubicles. Extra resuscitation bays will also be provided. These new additions will offer greater dignity and privacy to patients.

Tony Canavan, the chief executive of the Saolta University Health Care Group, which runs the public hospitals in the west and north-west, said that work on the new temporary department began last June.

“This accommodation will serve as an enabling advanced works project to clear the site for the permanent ED and Women and Children’s development.

“The handover of the Phase 1 temporary emergency department is scheduled from the contractor in mid-July 2022 and then commissioning will take approximately three to four weeks. Phase 2/internal area is scheduled for handover in September 2022.”

He said that the hospital’s cardiothoracic ward has been relocated to a new area. The hospital also plans to open 14 beds in St Nicholas’ ward and staff are being recruited for these new positions.

Restoration of the acute medical unit pathways and the acute surgical assessment pathways, which will assist with patient flow and streaming from the ED, is currently under way, he told a recent meeting of the HSE West’s regional health forum. This streaming will ensure that patients receive the correct care in the correct place.

“The green and red pathways are being reconfigured and the hospital is also seeking to recruit additional ED consultants.

“GUH has a GP working in ED to support rapid assessment. Re-establishing the rapid access nurse role will result in earlier sign posting/streaming for patients.”

He stated that the GP liason nurse, a recent appointment to the ED, responds to GP alerts. This nurse discusses these patients with triage staff, GPs, and the ED medical team.

“The Mars (Multidisciplinary Allied Response Team ) and FFD (Frailty ) team are present in ED and ensure early intervention for frailty screening and pathways to minimise patient experience time and also admission avoidance.

“In 2022, Galway University Hospital will work with colleagues in the National Ambulance Service to introduce Pathfinder, an alternative care pathway.

“This new service aims to safely keep vulnerable older people who have phoned 999/112, in their own home rather than transporting them to the ED for assessment. A specific team of staff will be employed to deliver this service, including advanced paramedics, occupational therapists, and physiotherapists. It will include a rapid response vehicle and an electronic patient care record.”

Mr Canavan, who was replying to a question raised by forum member and Galway county councillor, Dáithí Ó Cualáin, said Saolta is working closely with the community on the enhanced community care programme of work.

“Under the programme, GPs will be supported by specialist community teams in the management of chronic diseases. One of the key deliverables will be the expansion of community diagnostics to support chronic disease management and GP direct access, thus avoiding hospital referral.”


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