Walsh lauds innovative day-care model

Tue, Mar 20, 2012, 00:00

Adoping an international best practice day-care model can deliver optimum efficiency and patient care in Irish hospitals.

That is the view of Ed Walsh, the chairman of a new strategic advisory board to Barrington’s Hospital in Limerick. Founding president of University of Limerick, Dr Walsh was commenting on figures showing that 95 per cent of admissions to the private hospital in Limerick are now day cases.

Figures provided by the hospital show day cases at the hospital have risen from 3,000 per annum 10 years ago to 13,000 in 2011.

Dr Walsh said: “Technology and staff expertise are enabling patients to be dealt with on a day-care basis rather than involving overnight stays. This is very much to patients’ approval as they are getting optimum level of care and yet are back home, where they are happiest, on the same day as their procedure. A major bonus with the approach is that it effectively wipes out the risk of contracting superbugs such as MRSA.

“Barrington’s began adopting what we call the ‘Ted’ [technology, expertise, day care] concept 10 years ago and, thanks to a €20 million investment in the interim, the level of day-care patients at the hospital has grown from just 3,000 a year to 95 per cent of all admissions now on a day-care basis.”

Dr Walsh said that application of the Ted principle at Barrington’s has seen a quantum shift in efficiencies and improvement in patient care at the hospital over the past decade.

“With the right type of investment in technology and medical staff, many, many elective procedures that take up to three or more bed-nights can be delivered on a day-care basis. These include veins, hernias, cataracts, endoscopies, arthroscopies to mention just a few,” he said.

One of the most important benefits he said, was that the move to greater emphasis on day care would free up acute hospitals to focus on one of their biggest challenges – major acute and major trauma care delivery.

Dr Walsh said: “GPs are playing a pivotal role in the change and they have really embraced what we are doing at Barrington’s as more and more seek the day-care option for their patients for elective procedures.

“They do this because they know it is exactly what their patients want – to spend the absolute minimum time in hospital and maximum recovery time at home.”