Friday, December 02, 2022

Portlaoise Hospital Action Committee members with Deputy Brian Stanley during the health minister’s visit this morning. Photo posted by Brian Stanley TD

A STRONG assurance on the future of Portlaoise hospital was delivered by health minister Stephen Donnelly this morning, during a visit to the busy hospital.

The visit came within days of approval for a €14m extension at the hospital, which will see the development of a new Respiratory Assessment Unit, an extension to the existing Paediatric Unit, additional accommodation at ground floor and first floor level and other infrastructure.

During the visit attended by minister of state Seán Fleming, Deputy Brian Stanley and members of the Portlaoise Hospital Action Committee, Minister Donnelly stressed that there are no plans to downgrade the hospital.

On the contrary, he said that Portlaoise is “one of the best performing” hospitals in the country and can look forward to expansion rather than downgrading, with the multi-million euro investment in new facilities that was confirmed this week.

Following the visit, Deputy Stanley said: “Good meeting this morning at Portlaoise Hospital with Portlaoise Hospital Action Committee and the Minister for Health.

“The funding that has been announced for the new Respiratory Assessment Unit and the other investments at the hospital are more than welcome. Full credit to the staff, the Hospital Action Committee and members of the public who campaigned along with us to protect services. “

Meanwhile, improved access and wait times for gynaecology patients are promised at the hospital, with the establishment of a new clinic for women’s health.

A visit to the new Ambulatory Gynaecology Clinic, which opened this year, was the main purpose of the  health minister’s visit today.

Speaking about the new clinic, Minister Donnelly said: “Promoting women’s health is a priority for me and for this Government. The services being provided in this new clinic for women’s health demonstrate that we are committed to improving women’s health experiences.

“Developments in the ambulatory gynaecology model of care, as well as the increased levels of funding being provided to women’s healthcare in 2022, underpin our commitment in this space. The opening of this clinic will go a long way to ensuring that the women in the midlands can receive the right care, at the right time, and in the right place.

The new Ambulatory Gynaecology Clinic is one of a number of such units opened around the country under national plans to improve outcomes for women through a new model of care. These services are being established as one-stop, “see-and-treat” gynaecology clinics in which women can be assessed and treated conveniently and efficiently following a GP referral. This new model will improve access to diagnostics and treatment, resulting in fewer hospital visits and reducing overall wait times for women.

Health minister Stephen Donnelly visited Portlaoise hospital this morning

Pictured during the visit to Portlaoise hospital by health minister Stephen Donnelly are John Joyce, Incoming General Manager MRHP, Kathleen Ward, Interim General Manager MRHP, Orlagh Claffey, Chief Operation Officer, Dublin Midland Hospital Group, Minister Stephen Donnelly, Minister for Health, Deputy Sean Fleming, Dr John Connaughton, Clinical Director MRHP, Niamh Maher, Consultant Obstetrician, Prof Michael O’Connell, Master of the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital and Clinical Lead for Women & Infants for the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group

Prof Michael O’Connell, Master of the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital and Clinical Lead for Women & Infants for the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group said, “We are delighted to have the minister visit Portlaoise hospital and see, first hand, the work that is going into developing this new model of maternity care for the Midlands and wider catchment of the Hospital Group. The Dublin Midlands Hospital Group is committed to supporting all measures to develop health services for women and children by working closely with the National Women and Infants Health Programme to enhance gynaecological care for our service users. Ambulatory Gynaecology allows a “see-and-treat” approach to managing gynaecological conditions, providing a more streamlined, integrated care pathway than the traditional gynaecology clinic and inpatient care model.”

Kathleen Ward, Interim General Manager for Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise stated, “The new Ambulatory Gynaecology services will provide an important diagnostic and treatment facility for women attending gynaecology services at Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise. Moving to this new model of care will have benefits for the hospital system, freeing up clinic and theatre capacity for the management of more complex gynaecological patients by managing less complex investigations and procedures in the new clinic.”

Ita Kinsella, Director of Midwifery at the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise said, “This new Ambulatory Gynaecology model of care promotes an integrated multidisciplinary team approach to care and offers a unique opportunity to transform gynaecology services for women in the catchment area. The overall objectives of an ambulatory gynaecology management philosophy are to offer individualised woman-centred care pathways, to shorten the time to treatment and the treatment process for women ensuring promotion of health and wellbeing for both a physical and psychological point of view. This new approach and redesign of gynaecology services can be delivered in a more convenient close to home setting than what was previously offered, for the benefit of women in the Midlands in need of the service. We would like to thank all the staff in MRHP who have helped to bring this project to completion. And we would also like to acknowledge the National Women and Infants Health Programme for their ongoing support.”

The new clinic is part of the extension and development of the outpatients department at Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise and is based on the ground floor.

Hear from the staff of the New Ambulatory Gynaecology Clinic


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