Official opening of Oncology Interim Unit


University Hospital Kerry (UHK) has announced the official opening of its newly renovated Interim Oncology Day Ward.

The hospital says located within the hospital in a reconfigured space of the Ratoo Ward, this dedicated medical oncology unit exemplifies a commitment to patient-centred care and comfort.

“The newly transformed unit provides a modern, bright, and compassionate environment, ensuring patients experience privacy and a welcoming atmosphere.  UHK’s teams supported by the CUH Oncology Directorate along with HSE Estates  have meticulously planned the interim unit, placing patients and their journeys at the heart of the design.  Patient feedback has been invaluable in shaping this purpose-built space, ensuring it meets the needs of those undergoing treatment. A specific contribution was also made to this Unit by the ‘Comfort for Chemo Kerry’ charity in the form of funding for specialist relaxing treatment chairs designed to support our patients with comfort during this challenging time.”

When UHK first commenced an oncology service in 2001 there were approximately 831 patients. Now, with over 220 new patients annually, there are over 3,000 patients under continuing surveillance.  Further, a survivorship clinic has commenced at UHK seeing breast cancer patients initially and plans to expand to other patient cohorts next, to ensure patients have the supports they need to get back to living.

“The demand for cancer treatments has significantly increased, with patients at UHK and elsewhere receiving more treatments for longer. The number of patients receiving infusional anti-cancer treatment in UHK has in fact increased by 30% since 2019. All of which has prompted the expansion of the oncology services at UHK. The Interim Unit boasts a 40% increase in capacity, allowing for a more extensive range of treatments, including innovative therapies like immunotherapy. This expansion not only accommodates the existing growth in patient numbers, it also enables flexible scheduling and urgent treatments.

“While this interim unit addresses the immediate needs, UHK is diligently focusing on the development of a permanent stand-alone oncology unit. Currently at the design stage, this future-proofed facility aims to provide safe, timely, and evidence-based care for oncology patients.”

Dr Sinead Noonan, Consultant Medical Oncologist, has highlighted that “While this Interim Unit will meet our current demand, it is crucial that we focus our energies now to the development of a permanent stand-alone oncology unit. One which will be future-proofed to provide safe, timely, evidenced-based care to our oncology patients. This planned permanent unit will also enable us to meet the projected doubling of patient numbers over the next ten years.

The UHK Management Team expressed their gratitude to the Palliative Care Services, staff members who relocated from the Ratoo Ward, and the dedicated teams in Estates, Maintenance, and Building Contractors for their invaluable support in making this transition possible. Mary Fitzgerald said, “Your dedication has turned the vision into reality. To all of the staff who worked tirelessly, ensuring a smooth service transition to the new interim Unit. Thanks to you, our patients will receive the care they need in their new surroundings.”

Acknowledging the exceptional dedication of UHK’s oncology team, including nurses, clinical nurse specialists, advanced nurse practitioners, registrars, consultants, and support staff, the hospital also extended its heartfelt thanks to the people of Kerry.  “Their unwavering support has played a pivotal role in bringing holistic, patient-centred oncology care closer to home.”