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‘Surgical hub’ locations announced

By Reporter - 26th May 2023

The site locations for a number of ‘surgical hubs’ nationally have been announced.

The surgical hubs are being developed in key locations on-site or on sites operated under the governance of model 4 hospitals with the intent of having an impact on day-case waiting lists in advance of the development of regional elective hospitals.

They will also allow hospitals to focus on other areas of waiting lists as many day-case procedures can be moved to the surgical hubs.

The hubs are being modelled on the Reeves Centre at Tallaght University Hospital, Dublin. Over the course of the first 24 months of operation of the Reeves Centre, the total number of patients waiting on day case surgery reduced by 58 per cent, with a 91 per cent reduction in patients waiting over three months.

The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly announced the following site selections:

GalwayMerlin Park University Hospital (modular build)
CorkCork University Hospital (modular build)
Dublin NorthSite being finalised (turnkey fit-out)
Dublin SouthMount Carmel (refurbishment)
WaterfordUniversity Hospital Waterford (modular build)
LimerickSite being finalised (rapid/modular build)

Minister Donnelly said: “These surgical hubs now being developed will address waiting lists in the shorter term and will complement the longer-term development of regional elective hospitals in Galway, Cork and Dublin.

“We continue to see the successful operation of the surgical hub at the Reeves Centre in Tallaght University Hospital in Dublin where many waiting lists for day-case procedures have fallen dramatically and been eliminated.

“I’ve asked the HSE to ensure that the first of the new hubs will be operational before the end of this year, with more following in 2024.”

Surgical hub developments are estimated to cost in the region of €100-120 million, with funding divided between capital and revenue, subject to the estimates process.

The RCSI has welcomed the announcement that sites have been selected for new surgical hubs and the progress made in advancing the initiative.

Prof Deborah McNamara, RCSI Vice-President and Consultant Surgeon at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, said: “Waiting lists for surgical care in Ireland are unacceptably long. Patients waiting for scheduled care too often have their procedures cancelled when hospital systems are under pressure. We welcome initiatives such as this which will increase surgical capacity in Ireland.”

RCSI recently hosted a conference focused on the workforce requirements of the new hubs. The College stated expansion in services provides the opportunity to develop an innovative approach to addressing the global shortages in the nursing and medical workforce.

The development of the hubs forms part of the enhanced provision of elective care programme, which also includes the construction of new elective hospitals in Cork and Galway.

The selected sites are at St Stephen’s Hospital, Sarsfield Court in Cork, and Merlin Park in Galway.

The Cork centre with nine planned theatres, seven endoscopy suites and nine minor operation rooms is expected to provide 180,000 extra procedures, treatments and diagnostic appointments per year.

The Galway centre with a planned eight operating theatres, seven endoscopy suites and nine minor operation rooms is forecast to provide 175,000 additional procedures, treatments and diagnostic appointments per year.

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