TUH cuts number of patients waiting more than one year for surgery by 67%.

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Pictured from left to right at the launch of the 2021 Annual Report were  Liam Dowdall, Chairman of the TUH Board and Lucy Nugent, Chief Executive of TUH
Pictured from left to right at the launch of the 2021 Annual Report were Liam Dowdall, Chairman of the TUH Board and Lucy Nugent, Chief Executive of TUH

In 2021, the first full year The Reeves Day Surgery Centre in Tallaght University Hospital was up and running. It reduced the number of patients waiting more than one year for surgery by 67%, according to TUIH’s  annual report for 2021.

The report said several specialties including Pain Medicine, Vascular Surgery and Gynaecology had no patients waiting over nine months and the Reeves unit was playing a pivotal role in ensuring the Hospital would be surgical day case waiting list compliant this year.

It said Cardiac Rehabilitation was a new development brought to the community during 2021. This was a safe and effective method of delivering an integrated cardiac rehabilitation programme, while reducing large waiting lists for this patient group. Patient satisfaction with the new service was scoring 100% satisfaction levels.

The report said the introduction of the Synergy Electronic Patient Record to the Hospital, was a significant milestone in its eHealth journey. In time this would see one window connecting to all of the Hospital’s systems for a patient’s health record. This would enable the service to improve the care delivered and reduce the administrative burden that care professionals had to deal with, giving this valuable time back to delivering patient care

In support of the Hospital’s green focus, a new energy performance contract was signed.  This would see guaranteed savings of almost €1m in energy expenditure per year of the 15 year contract, with a capital investment of over €6m. Overall the scheme provided for a 70% drop in grid supplied electricity, a 20% saving on electrical consumption and a 26% reduction in carbon consumption.

 “There is never a perfect time to introduce a radical change in an organisation, but to do it in a workplace that is active twenty four hours a day, 365 days a year and is in the midst of dealing with a pandemic and the impact of a cyber-attack is an incredible achievement. Progress was also made in the recruitment of 137 additional staff to support new service developments.”

In 2021, The Hospital introduced a new Acute Oncology Service, running from Monday to Friday.  The the nurse-led service provides triage support over the phone to patients undergoing active oncology treatment. The annual report said feedback from patients was extremely positive as patients felt supported.  Thirty eight per cent of all the calls triaged resulted in a problem being solved over the phone. avoiding presentation to the ED

Through the support of the TUH Foundation, the Oncology Day Unit was moved to a new location in the Hospital.  The new space had a much larger footprint, providing more space for patients and staff. The report said the move would not have happened without the incredible work of the Technical Services Team in the first few months of the year when the Hospital was dealing with the height of COVID-19 and the various challenges it presented.

In July 2021 the Hospital, with the support of the Meath Foundation, appointed a Head of Innovation and a Clinical Innovation Fellow. “In a very short period of time the Innovation team have held 39 ideas clinics which have proved extremely popular with staff, strengthened relationships with industry and national innovation bodies.

“With restricted visiting remaining in place our Volunteer Service continued to provide support delivering over 11,000 care packages to patients, distributing 3,000 books and 779 sending love email messages delivered to patients. The volunteer service was also able to reintroduce our Meet Greet & Guide volunteers who help patients check in for their appointments at the electronic kiosks and if necessary escort them to the clinic location.”

The report said the Hospital was fortunate that it had previously invested in the digital infrastructure which protected the organisation from the conti cyber-attack.  Initially, access to national systems were halted but the internal network continued to function. This enabled hospital staff to work with minimum disruption to patient care. 

Commenting on the publication of the report, Chief Executive, Lucy Nugent said,  “The ongoing expansion of the Hospital campus continued during 2021 despite all the challenges we were presented with. The ICU build will open on schedule and the opening of the CHI OPD and Urgent Care Centre on our campus is freeing up space and enabling works to be carried out to expand our acute floor and further outpatient space. As the population around Tallaght grows, so does the demand on our services, so this space will be put to use very quickly to the benefit of our patients.

Liam Dowdall, Chairman of the TUH Board said, “We are now two years into the pandemic and it is safe to say that as an organisation we are still feeling its impact. The ability by the executive management team and incredible staff to stay focussed on the delivery of the Hospital Strategy shows impressive resilience and incredible dedication. I would like to both acknowledge this and thank them for delivering the very best of care and services to our patients, community and indeed, one another.”