New wing marks end of long campaign
ST VINCENT'S CYSTIC FIBROSIS UNIT:ST VINCENT'S University Hospital in Dublin will today begin transferring patients with cystic fibrosis to new long-awaited, purpose-built facilities.The move marks the end of a seven-year campaign by advocates for improved services for patients with the condition.
The improved facilities for patients with cystic fibrosis form part of a new €28 million ward block at St Vincent's, which will be known as the Nutley Wing.
The new block will contain 20 inpatient single en-suite bedrooms for patients with cystic fibrosis as well as a further 10 day beds. However, the hospital said the number of inpatient beds for cystic fibrosis patients could be "flexed up" to 34.
Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening condition caused by a defective gene that means the body produces abnormally thick and sticky mucus. The fluid builds up in the breathing passages of the lungs and in the pancreas, the organ that helps to break down and absorb food.
Overall the Nutley Wing contains five wards of 20 inpatient single, en-suite bedrooms housed over seven storeys. Twenty per cent of the beds on each of the wards will be isolation rooms with positive and negative air exchange.
In addition to cystic fibrosis, the new ward block will also provide facilities for specialities such as cancer care, infectious diseases, urology, and haematology.
St Vincent's said yesterday it anticipated that all areas of the new ward block would be fully open and operational by the end of August.
In a statement, the chief executive of St Vincent's, Nicky Jermyn, the director of the national referral centre for adult cystic fibrosis, Prof Charlie Gallagher, the chief executive of the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland, Philip Watt, and HSE national director for clinical strategy and programmes, Dr Barry White, said it was Department of Health policy that there must be sufficient inpatient beds available nationally to treat all people with cystic fibrosis who required hospitalisation in single en-suite rooms.
They said the development of the new facilities represented a major improvement in the care of cystic fibrosis patients in Ireland.
"The number of inpatients with cystic fibrosis at St Vincent's University Hospital is expected to vary. In this regard, 20 is a minimum number of inpatient beds and it can be flexed up to 34.
"Twenty of the inpatient rooms will be accommodated in a designated cystic fibrosis inpatient floor in the Nutley Wing."
The statement said that except in particular circumstances, the additional 14 single inpatient rooms when required will be located in the Nutley Wing and these rooms will be grouped together in so far as is possible.
It said one or two inpatient rooms in the Nutley Wing would be kept available at all times for emergency admissions.
"In circumstances where the emergency admission rooms have already been utilised and all the other inpatient rooms in the Nutley Wing are occupied, patients with cystic fibrosis will be accommodated elsewhere in clinically appropriate single rooms until such time as a room becomes available in the Nutley Wing and then the patient will be transferred there as a priority," the statement added.
"For clinical reasons, patients with Burkholderia cannot be treated on the designated cystic fibrosis inpatient floor in the Nutley Wing, and they will be treated in single rooms on other wards also in the Nutley Wing as a priority.
"The CF day care floor in the Nutley Wing will have 10 en-suite single rooms for CF daycare purposes.
"These will not be used for inpatients on an overnight basis, but can be used for patients to start their treatment while beds are being sourced to accommodate them."