Emergency department: state-of-art unit opens in Kerry


A NEW €4 million emergency department, which claims to be the most modern of its kind in the Republic, with increased staffing levels, opened yesterday morning at the 327-bed Kerry General Hospital.

The facility is more than twice the size of the old emergency department at the hospital which caters for a catchment of 145,000 patients from the Kerry-west Limerick and north Cork region.

It will treat more than 33,000 people annually, and offers state-of-the-art emergency medical treatment along with levels of “privacy and dignity” which could not have been available in the old department, general manager PJ Harnett said.

There is a separate dedicated facility for children attending the department allowing triage, assessment and treatment to take place separately from adults.

Highlights of the new emergency area include a spacious reception, dedicated X-ray unit, treatment areas for trauma, an enhanced resuscitation area, dedicated specialist facilities for people attending with obstetric, gynaecological, ENT and ophthalmological conditions.

It will also have facilities for families of critically ill patients, bereavement services and patient counselling. The emergency department will be staffed by two consultants in emergency medicine, Dr Jason Carty and Dr Martin Boyd, nine junior doctors and three specialist nurses.

This is a marked improvement on staffing levels in the old department, which had six junior doctors and no consultant in emergency medicine.

Clinical director Dr Richard Liston paid tribute to the huge efforts made by all staff, including many who have recently retired, which enabled the project to reach fruition.

Teaching and training opportunities would follow, and it was hoped the department would attract healthcare professionals eager to learn in a new, enriched environment, Dr Liston said.

The old department is to be developed into an enhanced acute medical assessment unit.