A €5.2 million funding package will create 7,176 annual GP referral slots in Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s Hospitals
By Rachel Petticrew
A multi-million euro agreement between UL Hospitals Group and the HSE will see Medical Assessment Units (MAUs) in St John’s and Nenagh Hospitals open seven days a week, while also securing the extension already in operation at Ennis Hospital.
While MAUs are not walk-in services and require a referral from a GP, the extra hours will create an additional 7,176 patient slots annually within the three regional services. The development will also provide much-needed referral alternatives to GPs over the weekends.
Recruitment has been ongoing recently for additional medical doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and health and social care professionals to staff Midwest MAUs, which will remain open every weekend from Good Friday.
In 2022, more than 12,737 patients were referred to MAUs in the Midwest, which plays an integral role in Emergency Department avoidance.
Ennis-based General Practitioner, Dr Bruce O’Donnell, said: “General Practitioners in the Mid-West are delighted at this announcement to increase services and availability at the Medical Assessment Units across the region. The MAUs provide a valuable, vital and timely service to GPs and patients, and have done for many years.
He added: “This move will have a very positive impact on all stakeholders in the Midwest and help alleviate the pressures on our colleagues in the Emergency Department and UHL.”
CEO of UL Hospitals Group Prof Colette Cowan added, “Weekend opening of all three MAUs will greatly assist hospital management and our GP colleagues to avoid unnecessary attendances at ED and admission to UHL. The region’s main acute hospital, serving the population of Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary, continues to experience an exceptionally high level of demand for emergency care and inpatient beds at present. In that context, the €5.2m investment will greatly enhance an already invaluable service for UL Hospitals Group.”
Find out more about Medical Assessment Units (MAUs) in the Midwest.