30 Sept 2022

Tipperary hospital stepped up to the mark during height of Covid

Covid masks ruled out for primary schoolchildren but not secondary students

Model 2 hospitals in the Mid-West, including Nenagh, stepped up to the plate during the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic, University Hospital Limerick Group’s chief operating officer Noreen Spillane has said.

“The hospitals played a vital role in the response to each Covid wave,” she told a briefing for local media.

Among those responses were the redployment of staff, catering for surges when they happened, providing isolation rooms and the transfer of patients from Limerick.

All in all, Ms Spillane painted a healthy picture for services at Nenagh Hospital, with users gradually returning.

The hospital operates a seven-day local injury unit where numbers fell from 10,025 in 2019 to just 8,672 at the height of Covid-19 in 2020. They returned to 9,971 in 2021.

While in-patient discharges from Nenagh looked low at 2,106, down from 3,451 in 2019, Ms Spillane said that this was because patients tended to stay longer in Nenagh where they can avail of more time to recover.

Also, as a Model 2 facility it would take a lot of patients from University Hospital in Limerick.

On day cases, Ms Spillane revealed that numbers had plummeted from 7,511 in 2019 to 4,939 in 2020. However, they were holding steady for 2021 at 4,700.

In relation to Covid-19, the hospital had 69 in-patients in both 2020 and 2021 which was reflected in an increase in the number of isolation rooms at the hospital.

Ms Spillane revealed that a total of 87,148 vaccinations had been carried out at the vaccination centre in the Abbey Court Hotel, with close to 500,000 in all its centres in Ennis and Limerick.

She thanked local GPs, pharmacists and community healthcare staff for helping to administer a further 22,000 vaccinations.
“We are proud of the staff and what they achieved,” said Ms Spillane.

Prof Brian Lenehan, chief clinical director for UHLG, outlined out-patient services at all the group’s sites, saying attendances fell across the board with the exception of University Hospital Limerick over the past three years.

In Nenagh, they dropped from 13,479 in 2019, to 8,181 in 2020, but had risen in 2021 to 8,226.

“We hope to go back to the 2019 level and above,” he said.

Prof Lenehan said they had introduced a number of initiatives to reduce out-patient lists, including more recruitment, advance clinical prioritisation and use of the National Treatment Purchase Fund, which saw 116 people treated for orthopaedics and 117 for dermatology.

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