New local CF unit shortlisted for award

The new cystic fibrosis (CF ) unit at Galway University Hospital was shortlisted for the Patient Organisation Project of the Year award at the Irish Healthcare Awards which took place recently.

The new unit is a dedicated specialist facility for day care and outpatient services for children with cystic fibrosis.

They are treated in an optimal physical environment to reduce the risk of infection, which can have a serious impact for patients with the condition.

The unit cost about €590,000 to construct with €250,000 funded by the CF association. The balance came from the Saolta University Health Care Group, (formerly the West/North West Hospitals Group ) and the HSE.

Cystic fibrosis affects many bodily functions such as breathing, digestion and reproduction. It is one of the country’s most common life threatening inherited disease with one in 19 people carrying the gene. Ireland has one of the highest reported incidences of CF in the world. It is almost four times the average rate of other European countries.

This lifelong condition usually becomes more severe with age - some people with it live until their teens while others live until their 50s. It affects men and women in equal proportion.

There are about 1,110 people with cystic fibrosis in Ireland. Fifty new cases are diagnosed each year.

The chairperson of the Cystic Fibrosis Ireland Galway branch said earlier this year while there have been some positive developments in the care of people with CF the organisation is still playing “catch up” due to years of under-investment in facilities.

Mary Lane Heneghan outlined that key frontline healthcare staff are not being replaced when they are on sick or maternity leave.

“We desperately need to ensure that people with cystic fibrosis have access to centres across the country with adequate facilities to avoid cross-infection. Appropriate facilities and staffing are not optional extras, they are critical to the safe care of patients and need to be resolved right now.”

Established in 2002, the Irish Healthcare Awards, which are hosted by The Irish Medical Times, celebrate and award innovation, excellence and achievement in the Irish health system and recognise projects and individuals that have made a positive contribution to patient care.

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