A new bed block with up to 150 additional in-patient beds, with an estimated completion time from capital approval of 36 months, has been proposed by St. John’s Hospital, Limerick, in its five year strategy.
The capital development, it says, would tackle public waiting lists by accommodating a very significant proportion of the scheduled care work in the region, be a solution to the bed capacity issue in the Midwest and the overdue major improvement works required to the hospital infrastructure, as noted by HIQA.
The hospital says it already has the sixth busiest endoscopy list and the 12th busiest elective surgery list in the country and the second busiest LIU in the country, after Cork. It does not admit unscheduled medical or surgical patients.
St. John’s Hospital has 89 In-patient and 10 Day Case beds. It discharged 4,802 patients in 2020 and 5,854 in 2019. It provided 22,713 bed days in 2020 and 24,983 in 2019. Its Out-Patients Department saw 4,459 patients in 2020 and 7,907 in 2019. It treated 11,818 patients in its Local Injuries Unit in 2020 and 11,581 in 2019, while 3,036 patients were seen in the Medical Assessment Unit in 2020 and 3,035 in 2019. A total of 1,401 endoscopies were performed in 2020 and 2,320 in 2019, while 2,468 surgical patients were treated in 2020 and 4,091 in 2019.
The hospital’s strategy says the key features of its future integrated service model were that it would be an Elective Hospital of choice for Acute Medicine including the specialist areas of Respiratory, Renal and Endocrinology services, increase its Medical Assessment Unit service to a 7-day service, continue to provide the second busiest Injury Unit service in Ireland, underpinned by an Advanced Nurse Practitioner model of care and develop rapid access clinics in our key speciality areas.
It wants to continue its role as a regional service provider for its Clinical Recovery and Support Unit (CRSU), continue its role as a regional service provider for interventional Pain Treatments, enhance its role as a regional service provider for Endoscopy including Bowel Screening. develop its elective surgery programme to include robotic surgery and further develop its capability as a key provider of Radiology diagnostic work.
The strategy said, “Approval of our Capital Development Proposal would enable St John’s to fully meet the Minister for Health’s 2022 Waiting List Action Plan objectives, launched in February 2022. The Minister’s multi-annual reform programme seeks to stabilise and reduce waiting lists and waiting times for elective care in Ireland and to bring about significant and lasting change in waiting list numbers,
St. John’s Hospital was founded in 1780 by Lady Hartstonge and other benefactors as a Fever and Lock Hospital, being the first of its kind erected in the empire of Britain. It played a major role in controlling the spread of fever by admitting patients and isolating them from the community. The success of St John’s in treating fever patients was based on a combination of core principles still applicable to modern day medicine – routine hygienic practice, nourishing food, and the knowledge of Dr John Geary – a prominent local physician of the time being able to distinguish between different fevers. In 1845, the hospital admitted more than 5,000 fever ridden patients during the outbreak of famine fever in Limerick city and also managed to maintain a relatively low mortality rate during that time. In 1888, the then Bishop of Limerick, Bishop Edward Thomas O’Dwyer invited the Nursing Sisters of the Little Company of Mary (LCM) to the Hospital. St. John’s was the first site in Ireland where the LCM Nursing Sisters came to work. They led the nursing services of the hospital from 1888 to 2001, when the first lay person was appointed as a Director of Nursing. St. John’s Hospital was the first acute public hospital in Ireland to be accredited under the Irish Health Services Accreditation Board in 2003 and was the only acute hospital to be re-accredited under the scheme in 2007. Since the national reconfiguration of health services into Groups in 2013, St. John’s is one of six hospitals in the University of Limerick Hospitals Group.