The much-anticipated new endoscopy suite opened at Mallow General Hospital this week as part of a €4.5 million capital investment in the hospital. Dr. Neil Cronin, Consultant Phy-sician and clinical lead for the new unit at the hospital, welcomed the opening of the endoscopy suite and said, “We have been working towards re-organ-ising services at Mallow General Hospital over the last number of years. Part of this was a major extension to Mallow General Hospital for a replacement endoscopy suite and a new medical assessment unit. The management team is pleased that the new build is now complete, which brings the re-organisation of services at the hospital near to completion. The hospital is now in a very strong position to continue delivering healthcare services to benefit patients, staff and the local community in Mallow and north Cork.”

The new suite is a modern facility with two pro-cedures rooms, a first-stage recovery room and a discharge lounge, which replaces the existing endoscopy facility. It has the capacity to do an additional 1,000 endos-scopies annually. Curr-ently there are approx-imately 2,000 endoscopies per year performed at Mallow General Hospital, which means that the hospital now has the capacity to do in excess of 3,000 annually.

Mary Owens, Director of Nursing at Mallow General Hospital, said, “I’m delighted that we have this new endoscopy suite for the people of Mallow and surrounding areas. It is a beautiful new purpose-built facility and meets all the international standards required for such a unit.”

Minister of State for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock said, “This is a further measure that will ensure the future of the hospital. What is needed now is an analysis of the activity levels at the hospital. We must ensure that acute medical services will continue to increase with the addition of the endoscopy suite. The future of the hospital will not just be about elective procedures but about acute medical procedures.”

The opening of the new endoscopy suite follows on from the re-organisation of other services. A Local Injury Unit (LIU) and Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) opened in March 2013. Both are now operating well and treating increasing patient numbers. According to Ms. Owens, “In the eight months since opening, over 3,000 patients have been seen in our Local Injury Unit and over 3,500 attended the Medical Assessment Unit. Feedback received from patients attending is highly satisfactory.” The LIU is open seven days per week from 8am to 8pm. Staff in the unit treat adults and children over five years of age with minor injuries such as a suspected broken bone, a sprain, a facial injury or a minor scald or burn. Staff can take x-rays, apply plaster casts and stitches. The MAU is also open seven days a week from 8am to 8pm, with staff treating patients referred directly by their GP/SouthDoc, who are suffering from a recent onset of symptoms such as breathlessness, chest pain or blackouts. The MAU only accepts patients referred by their GP or SouthDoc to ensure that only patients suitable for treatment present at this unit. Patients referred to the MAU are seen by a senior doctor within an hour of arrival who has ready access to diagnostics such as x-rays, blood tests, scans, etc.