Outpatient and Emergency Care Unit at Children’s Health Ireland at Tallaght opens today
- 17,000 outpatient appointments and 30,000 emergency care attendances to be facilitated
- New facility is next step towards new children’s hospital
The new Paediatric Outpatient and Emergency Care Unit (ECU) at Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) at Tallaght has opened today.
The 4,600m² facility was completed by the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) on September 9 and handed over to CHI on September 15. CHI has spent the intervening period commissioning and equipping the building and familiarising staff who will work there with the new facility.
The new three-storey CHI centre, located adjacent to the main entrance to the Tallaght University Hospital includes;
- A new emergency care unit with 2 triage rooms a modern well equipped resuscitation room, a designated area for minor injuries and procedures and 16 single examination and treatment rooms. The unit will provide 24-hour emergency care;
- A new paediatric outpatient department with 13 consultation rooms for Monday to Friday appointments in general and specialist paediatrics including neurodisability, and orthopaedics.
- A new radiology unit for x-rays and Ultrasound examination.
- A new Medical Forensic Examination suite and clinic for the CHI Child Sexual Assault Counselling and Therapy services;
- Within the Emergency Care Unit there is capacity to deliver short-stay care so that children can have full consultant assessments and treatment and be discharged home without needing a 24-hour admission. This model currently exists in CHI at Tallaght and has worked very well;
- Specially commissioned artwork throughout the unit that makes CHI at Tallaght a warm and welcoming place for children, young people and their families which will assist with their wellbeing;
- The facilities are designed and built for children, young people and their families- it is bright and spacious with plenty of changing facilities, areas designated for breast feeding and specialist sensory areas within the ECU and Outpatient Department.
These expanded services are in addition to the current inpatient, day case, theatre and outpatient services in CHI at Tallaght which will remain there until the new children’s hospital opens.
CHI at Tallaght provides secondary and tertiary care to children and young people from Dublin South West, South City and the surrounding areas of Kildare and Wicklow. When fully operational it is expected that this new facility in CHI at Tallaght will provide up to 17,000 additional outpatient opportunities and will provide care to more than 30,000 Emergency care presentations annually.
The opening of this new facility in CHI at Tallaght marks a significant milestone in the children’s hospital project and the opportunity to expand services being delivered to children, young people and their families. It follows the successful opening of a similar facility in CHI at Connolly in Blanchardstown in July 2019. Since services in CHI at Connolly opened, it has contributed to a 65% reduction in waiting lists for general paediatric services. To date 18,078 outpatient appointments have taken place there and more than 16,807 children and young people have been treated in the 5-day Urgent Care Centre.
Work on expanding children’s services in CHI at Tallaght has also included a significant investment in Tallaght University Hospital (TUH) including the delivery of a new changing and administration block, a new crèche and the upgrade of roads and pavements, car park and electrical infrastructure. In addition, TUH will have the benefit of additional clinical space in the Radiology and Emergency departments when the children’s service moves in November 2021.
In the past few weeks, CHI rolled out a public information campaign targeted at families and key stakeholders including GPs and healthcare professionals, to raise awareness about the relocation of the existing Emergency Care Unit and the new services CHI will provide.
At a special opening event at CHI at Tallaght today, the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly T.D. said;
“I am delighted to attend the official opening of the new paediatric outpatient and emergency care unit, CHI at Tallaght, today. This modern and purpose-built facility is an essential part of the new children’s hospital project and is the second of the two satellite centres to be completed. It represents another major milestone reached in the project and will have a significant impact on the ongoing transformation of paediatric services in Ireland, helping to reduce wait times while delivering care in an appropriate setting, as close to home as possible.
“It is great news for the local community in Tallaght as well as children and their families in the surrounding areas throughout South Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow who can avail of the emergency care unit as well as attend for outpatient visits.”
The Minister continued, “CHI at Tallaght will now offer patients, their families and paediatric healthcare workers a modern, light-filled and fit-for-purpose environment.”
Eilísh Hardiman, Chief Executive, Children’s Health Ireland said:
“Today is a good day for children and their parents, for CHI and its staff, and for the country. It marks another milestone in our journey towards the opening of the new children’s hospital. It is a real example of implementing the Model of Care for Paediatrics by keeping services local and convenient while consolidating specialist services in the new hospital. This investment is helping to deliver better healthcare outcomes as well as better experiences for children, families and staff in a modern fit for purpose facility that they all deserve now and for future generations to come.
“I want to thank all the CHI staff and all our colleagues in Tallaght University Hospital who have made today possible.
“The CHI vision is Healthier children and young people throughout Ireland. Today’s opening marks an important step forward in making that vision a reality”.
CHI at Tallaght features numerous technical upgrades:
- In the new CHI at Tallaght Emergency Care Unit, staff will have access to workstations on wheels across the department, and to new computers in triage;
- There will be new centralised physiological monitoring screens at staff bases to enable staff to continuously view patient vital signs;
- An automated dispensing cabinet will provide an additional layer of patient safety in the medication workflow, while also supporting efficient stock management;
- Patients attending the CHI at Tallaght Outpatient Department will have the opportunity to check themselves in for their appointments via registration kiosks;
- St. Louise’s Unit (for child sexual abuse assessment and treatment) will have new audio-visual interview equipment across their assessment rooms, and will move to a digital documentation system in the first quarter of 2022. And the related Laurels Clinic (for forensic medicine) will likewise move to digital documentation, also in the first quarter of 2022. Staff of both St. Louise’s and Laurels will have access to Microsoft Teams for file sharing and document management.