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2014 Press Releases

Changes afoot for Waterford Regional Hospital

4 Jun 2014
L-R: Mayor Cllr. John Cummins, Dr Rob Landers, Clinical Director, University Hospital Waterford, Prof. Geraldine McCarthy, Chair. South/South West Hospital Group, Dr James Reilly, TD, Minister for Health, Prof John Higgins Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Head of College of Medicine and Health UCC and Prof Mary Horgan, Dean School of Medicine, UCC (Photo via Kate McSweeney, UCC).

Waterford Regional Hospital has been formally re-named ‘University Hospital Waterford’ (UHW) by the Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly TD, with UCC its academic partner. 

Following the renaming of the Hospital, the Minister officially opened the new Emergency Department and Neo Natal Unit, which were completed as part of a €9.5 million development at the Hospital, and the new €1.75m CT Unit inclusive of a €400,000 donation from the Waterford City and County Infirmary Trust to purchase a 2nd CT Scanner.

The formal renaming of University Hospital Waterford marks the significant role of the Hospital as outlined in the Report on the Establishment of Hospital Groups (2013). University Hospital Waterford is one of nine hospitals in the South / South West Hospital Group (one of six groups established).  

Each of the new hospital groups will work as a single, cohesive entity, managed as one. Groups such as the South / South West, will maximise the volume and type of care delivered locally, whilst ensuring complex care is safely provided in larger hospitals such as UHW.

As outlined in the Hospital Groups report, University Hospital Waterford will continue to provide a full range of services. The Hospital will operate as a cancer centre under the National Cancer Control Programme, be the hub for the South-East renal service, a regional trauma centre (including ED, ENT and Ophthalmology) and continue to provide invasive cardiology services for the South-East population with plans to provide 24/7 cardiology services as resources become available (working in collaboration with the cardiology services in Cork, the current service should be extended with joint appointments of cardiologists).

As part of the Group, the Hospital’s primary academic partner is UCC, ensuring that UHW will have an expanding role as a teaching hospital within the group.

Research opportunities will present through this collaboration and will make for an attractive working environment ensuring that UHW will be able to compete for and recruit the best clinical talent available. This also ensures that patients will benefit from the latest clinical expertise and knowledge as it flows from education and research into the hospital system.

Speaking at the formal re-naming ceremony, Professor Geraldine McCarthy welcomed the Minister to University Hospital Waterford and said:

“The formal re-naming of University Hospital Waterford is significant. It represents the Hospital’s key role as part of the Group and the new partnership with UCC, its primary academic partner which provides for integration and collaboration, teaching, research and education opportunities between the Hospital and UCC.  In turn, as envisaged, a significant development for Hospitals in the group is the shared recruitment of consultants, as they will be appointed to the Hospital group, rather than the individual hospitals. This enables co-operation and integration between our hospitals and further development and expansion of acute services across the Group. I am delighted that we have had the opportunity to formally mark this significant development for University Hospital Waterford and very much look forward to getting to know, and working with, colleagues in UHW and the eight other hospitals across the Group.”

Welcoming the commitments to UHW and continued investment in its development, Dr Rob Landers, Clinical Director, University Hospital Waterford said:

“As part of the South / South West Hospital group, this formal renaming of University Hospital Waterford signifies the Hospital’s role going forward. We look forward to developing and strengthening our relationship with UCC as our primary academic partner, whilst also maintaining current relationships with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) and others. We will work with our partners in the South / South West Hospital Group to ensure the widest range of services are delivered effectively, for the public, here at UHW.  Importantly, as well as the formal re-naming of the Hospital today, we have the pleasure of officially opening some €11m worth of facilities.  This demonstrates the ongoing commitment to University Hospital Waterford as part of the Hospital Group. Today marks the beginning of a journey towards a new way of governing and organising our hospital services and we are committed to ensuring that this transition is managed as effectively, safely and efficiently as possible as we work towards full trust status.”

Professor John R. Higgins, UCC Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Head of College of Medicine and Health commented:

“I am delighted that Minister Reilly is formally renaming University Hospital Waterford today. This was a key commitment to the new hospital group and it has now been realised. I would like to personally acknowledge the dedicated and highly skilled staff at University Hospital Waterford. As their primary academic partner, UCC is committed to ensuring that the hospitals’ patient services are strengthened and developed. We know that to recruit and retain clinicians of the highest quality requires that teaching, training, research and innovation are fully integrated into the mission of the hospital. UCC now wants to proceed rapidly to appoint five new academic consultants in University Hospital Waterford. This is the biggest single investment in new academic consultant posts in the history of the UCC Medical School.” 

Following the formal renaming of the Hospital, services formally being opened today include the:

Emergency Department (ED)

As the South East’s regional centre for orthopaedic trauma, the ED provides a 24/7 service for acute trauma and emergency medicine and surgery. UHW is also the regional cancer centre for the South East (population 497,000, serving counties Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford) and provides a number of regional specialty services, contributing to increased presentations and activity in its ED. In 2013, there was in excess of 53,515 emergency attendances to the ED. The ED is staffed by three full time Consultants in Emergency Medicine and a further three Consultants from Wexford, Kilkenny and South Tipperary who work on the on-call rota.

There are also 14 Non Consultant Hospital Doctors (NCHDs), three Advanced Nurse Practitioners (ANPs), 42 nursing Staff, three care assistants, two Porters and administration support. There is also a Minor Injuries Department, which is led by the ANPs, allowing timely access to services for patients with less serious injuries. The ED is supported by the Acute Medical Assessment Unit (AMAU) and a 29 bed inpatient short stay Acute Medical Unit (AMU). These units facilitate fast-tracking of acutely ill patients and access for patients to senior decision-making concerning their admission or discharge. The new ED consists of 26 treatment spaces, including a new 14 cubicle majors treatment area???, a new resuscitation, assessment and treatment area for critically ill patients, a Minor Injuries Department and a separate paediatric treatment and resuscitation area. It is a significantly improved facility in terms of environment for patients and staff as well as increasing capacity by 12 treatment places. ED staff also work closely with the Special Delivery Unit (SDU) to improve patients experience in the department with an ongoing focus on reducing wait times.

Neo Natal Unit

Completed in 2013, the new Neo Natal Unit will increase capacity from the previous 18 cot unit to a 25 cot unit. The Neo Natal Unit, which has opened on a phased basis, currently has a four place Intensive Care Unit (ICU) area, a six place High Dependency Unit (HDU) area and an eight cot Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) area. It was developed to meet the requirements of today’s service. A further three ICU, two HDU and another two SCBU places are due to come into operation in the new Neo Natal Unit. The previous unit, opened in 1991, was judged no longer suitable for current day demands and frequently necessitated out of area neo natal transfers. The new unit provides a regional service to the maternity units in Wexford General Hospital, South Tipperary General Hospital and St Luke’s General Hospital Carlow/Kilkenny. The Neo Natal Unit provides intensive, high dependency and special care to seriously ill, new-born babies, including premature babies from 24 weeks in pregnancy. This new purpose-built facility provides the most modern care for babies and provides support and reassurance for parents during what can be a very difficult time. The unit is staffed by four Consultant Paediatricians, nine NCHDs, 39 nursing staff and household and administrative support.

CT Unit

The development of this second CT unit will provide improved access to patients for CT diagnostic services. This new unit, which is adjacent to the new Emergency Department (ED), will provide more immediate and safer access to CT for critically ill patients and will also support the implementation of stroke protocols for patients presenting to the ED. The Radiology department at UHW provides access to X-RAY, screening, ultrasound, CT, MRI, mammography, dexa-scanning and interventional radiology services to the population of Waterford and the South East. The Radiology Department completed a total of 119,759 examinations, including 7014 CT scans, in 2013. The Radiology Department is staffed by eight Consultant Radiologists, 36 Radiographers, three radiology nurses, administration and support Staff.  UHW acknowledges the support and generous donation of €400,000, of the overall €1.1m cost of the new Unit, by the Waterford County and City Infirmary Trust.

As one of the busiest regional hospitals in the country, UHW has a staff of some 1,700 people, 403 inpatient beds and 103 day places. Annually, there are more than 134,000 outpatient appointments, 42,000 Emergency Department attendances, 22,300 day procedures, 21,200 inpatient discharges, 14,000 dialysis treatments and 2,200 births.

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