€17 million boost for cardiac renal unit


A €17 MILLION funding allocation by the Health Service Executive (HSE) which will allow the equipping and phased opening next year of a new 151-bed cardiac renal facility at Cork University Hospital (CUH) has been warmly welcomed by both hospital management and medical staff.

CUH general manager, Tony McNamara, told The Irish Timesthat confirmation of the €17 million funding was particularly welcome given the current economic climate as it would have a major impact on the quality of service to both renal and cardiac patients.

“This is a huge achievement in the current economic climate – it will enable us to look at the phased opening of the centre, starting initially with the transfer of renal services which are already located on the CUH campus,” according to Mr McNamara.

“The new centre will have a total of 35 haemodialysis stations, including 30 for routine dialysis, three for high dependency patients and two for isolation patients – that’s up from the current number of 22 and one isolation unit.

“Apart from the fact that we will be able to treat high dependency patients, the other major advantage is that it will enable us to eliminate the night dialysis service.

“As it is, some patients have to come at night, but with the extra stations everyone can be treated now by day.”

In 2007, staff at the hospital’s renal unit carried out approximately 22,500 haemodialysis treatments and the new facility will allow the hospital to cater for the projected 10-15 per cent per annum rise.

Construction work on the cardiac renal facility, which is costing €85 million in total, began in July 2007 with a 31-month construction schedule.

Mr McNamara expects the building to be handed over in January with renal services likely to be operational by the end of March or early April next year.

The next step following the transfer of renal services will be the transfer of the cardiac services, which are currently dispersed throughout the CUH campus, and following that the transfer of cardiac services which are currently provided at other hospitals in Cork.

Among the various cardiac services planned for transfer to the new unit are non-invasive cardiology such as echo stress testing, rapid chest pain clinics, heart failure clinics, pre-admission assessment and an outpatients department.

The new unit will also cater for cardiology services, including the provision of five catheterisation laboratories, a cardiology ward with 29 beds, a coronary care unit with eight beds, a step-down unit with 10 beds and a specialist monitoring unit with eight beds.

Cardiothoracic services will also be located in the new facility, which will include two cardiac theatres, a cardiac intensive care unit with 10 beds, a high dependency unit with 12 beds and a cardiothoracic ward with 34 beds.

The planned unit has already been welcomed by consultant cardiologist at CUH, Dr Peter Kearney, who said that it would mark “a significant improvement in access and technology for the public”.