Getting hospital projects over the line during pandemic is positive

By Mary Dennehy

AS 2020 comes to a close, the CEO of Tallaght University Hospital looks back at the steps forward in a difficult year for the local hospital, its staff and the community they serve.

While managing the challenges faced by the Covid-19 crisis, TUH continued to look forward in 2020, and delivered a number of developments that will support its patients, enhancing access and care into the future.

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Tallaght University Hospital has seen a number of projects finished

Ms Nugent spoke of the expansion projects that the hospital has managed to deliver in recent months, including the new Renal unit, the Reeves Day Surgery Facility and the community radiology unit.

Construction work on the Intensive Care Unit expansion project is also underway on campus  and, now that the renal unit has moved into a new state-of-the-art space, its former home is being refurbished into a new oncology day unit.

“[Getting some of these projects over the line] is positivity in a pandemic”, Ms Nugent said.

“We pulled together as a team and while managing a pandemic, we were also looking beyond the pandemic.

“This pandemic will at some stage come to an end.”

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CEO Lucy Nugent

According to Ms Nugent, getting these patient-centred projects over the line is “testament” to staff and HSE support.

“We’re very much looking at the delivery of a hospital without walls”, Ms Nugent said.

“However, we do need more inpatient beds due to the population growing around us.

“Rathcoole and Saggart alone are among the fastest growing areas in the country.

“We’re in the people business, our staff and patients that’s the reason we exist...and we need to build the hospital into the future.”

The hospital has drawn-up plans for a new 72-bed unit which, having 72 individual rooms, is currently at a cost benefit analysis stage with the HSE.

Increasing accessibility and moving services out into the community is part of the hospital’s five-year plan, which was launched in December of last year.

The five year blue-print also zones in on digitally enabled care, some of which was accelerated during Covid.

Looking to 2021, Ms Nugent said: “Firstly I’d like to thank the community again for their support and acknowledge our staff, who have been amazing.

“Covid is still with us and I’d ask the community to continue doing what their doing.

“Handwashing, social distancing and limiting contacts are all still important.

“We would ask people to remember the guidelines so the hospital won’t be overwhlemed in January.”

Ms Nugent added: “January is a busy time anyway and on top of a pandemic, it is concerning.

“The relaxing of some of the guidelines will see an increase in Covid cases, which will put us under some pressure.

“However, we want to remind the community that we are still here and not to be afraid to attend hospital if you need care.”

For Ms Nugent, 2020 shone a spotlight on the ongoing support the hospital has from its community, and the committed, dedicated and caring team of staff working on the ground.

“I’d like to wish everyone a happy Christmas and a peaceful and better 2021, and thank you to the community for standing with us”, Ms Nugent said.

“We have also had huge support from our staff, and I couldn’t be more proud of them all.”

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