By Michelle Hogan
Minister for Health Simon Harris officially opened the €16.5 million Leben Building at University Hospital Limerick on Friday.
The new building which has been launched in phases, consists of a neurology/stroke unit, a cystic fibrosis adult inpatient unit, an outpatient cystic fibrosis unit, a dermatology unit and symptomatic breast unit.
The dedicated Cystic Fibrosis unit was officially launched today. It will offer nine beds in specially-adapted isolation units. It has been designed with the input from CF patients about what best suits their needs to help manage their condition.
“It is a pleasure to see for myself the greatly enhanced care being provided to patients in such a cutting-edge clinical environment. The Leben Building is a great example of what is achievable when the public system works in tandem with charitable partners,” said Minister Harris.
The six-storey building has been delivered through a cooperation between the HSE, Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland, Parkinson’s Association and the Mid-Western Hospitals Development Trust.
“These collaborative efforts will ensure that stroke and neurology patients are cared for in a state-of-the-art unit, and with access to a wider range of specialist nursing and allied health supports, and that patients with skin conditions will have access to the most modern dermatology centre in the country.” Minister Harris added.
Patricia Duffy Barber, Chairperson, Cystic Fibrosis Ireland welcomed this “wonderful initiative” and said that “the two Cystic Fibrosis floors will make a huge difference to CF patients in the area.”
Chairman of UL Hospitals Group, Prof Niall O’Higgins, commented: “The time has come to acknowledge the heroic figures who have campaigned for these marvellous facilities and for the expertise associated with them. The Parkinson’s/Stroke Unit, the new Breast Unit and the Cystic Fibrosis Unit and the new Dermatology Centre have already been accepted as being of outstanding quality and among the best in Ireland.”
Colette Cowan, CEO, UL Hospitals Group, said: “This is a red-letter day for everybody involved in the Leben project.”
“We are hugely grateful to our charitable partners who have put in tremendous effort over many years to bring this day about. We are grateful also to the JP McManus Invitational ProAm and the McManus family for their generosity. What has also been an essential piece in the jigsaw has been the enormous support we have received from the Department of Health, the HSE and the National Cancer Control Programme, whether that involved the purchase of advanced diagnostic and other equipment or helping fund approximately 130 extra staff across a range of disciplines at this hospital,” said Ms Cowan.
The 24 bed Neurological Centre/Acute Stroke Unit within Leben Building was launched in April of this year.
Una Anderson-Ryan, Chairman of Special Projects, Parkinson’s Association of Ireland said the new Neurological Centre/Acute Stroke Unit will provide “improved care for stroke patients in the region” and it “represents the realisation of a long-held ambition to have a modern facility in the region for people with Parkinson’s Disease.”
Jim Canny, Chairman, Mid-Western Hospitals Development Trust, said the new facility “complements the many other health services on the Dooradoyle campus.”
A €3m Breast Unit within the Leben building was launched in July this year.
According to Shona Tormey, Consultant Breast Surgeon,: “The Breast Unit in UHL, as one of the eight NCCP centres, offers all aspects of breast and breast cancer care including triple assessment, breast reconstruction and Oncoplastic surgery, and dedicated family history clinics. Breast Cancer in UHL includes a dedicated Breast Medical Oncology Unit and Radiotherapy delivered in the UHL Medical Oncology Unit and the Mater Private Radiotherapy on site. The new unit is also a first for this hospital, representing the first time patients coming through rapid access clinics have access to advanced diagnostics and treatment all under one roof.”
Dr Bart Ramsay, Consultant Dermatologist, said the opening of the new dermatology centre heralded a new era for patients in the region.
“Only those who suffer with skin disease or skin cancer can really understand the impact their condition has on them. The dermatology patients appreciate its beauty, its sense of spaciousness and calmness as well as the kindness and care they are receiving. The dermatology staff are taking great joy from seeing the positive impact the unit is having on patients. It is simply a stunning achievement by everyone involved,” Dr Ramsay added.
One hundred and thirty new staff have been employed in the various new specialised units in the Leben Building.