Funding has been secured for a long awaited ICU extension at Tallaght University Hospital

By Mary Dennehy

FUNDING has been secured by Tallaght University Hospital for a long-awaited ICU extension, which will see an additional 12 critical care beds housed across a 1,500m2 new build.

Speaking this week, hospital CEO Lucy Nugent said that the extension will put TUH in a “better position” to care for the greater number of acute patients presenting and “strengthen” its position as a trauma site for Dublin.

TUH ICU Artists Impression 1

An artist impression of the Tallaght University Hospital Intensive Care Hospital

For a number of years, TUH has been working on securing a 12-bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU) extension, with planning permission for the development granted back in February 2018.

As previously reported in The Echo, the extension has been deemed “vital” considering Tallaght University Hospital (TUH) is running at 112 per cent occupancy of its critical care capacity.

After years of dedication to the delivery of the development, the hospital-led project has finally received the funding go-ahead from the HSE.

In a statement to The Echo this week, TUH Chief Executive Lucy Nugent said: “This year has brought many obstacles and our capacity in ICU to care for the most vulnerable patients has been a particular challenge.

“The hospital has been working towards the development of an expanded ICU for some time and we are delighted that the building of the extended unit is finally due to start.”

She added: “I would like to acknowledge the support of the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group and HSE Estates who have supported the design, planning and now build process of this long awaited and much needed extension.

“With the aging demographic and advances in medicine we have been vulnerable in our preparedness for more acute presentations and admissions.

“The completion of the extension will put us in a better position to care for the greater number of acute patients presenting and strengthen our position as a trauma site for Dublin.”

Preparatory works have already started at the site of the extension, which is being built alongside the existing ICU on the second floor – with the build expected to take 18 months.

According to TUH, the completed extension will result in the hospital no longer operating at or above 100 per cent capacity in critical care.

The funding will more than double the capacity of the current ICU, increasing the hospital’s nine-bed critical care unit to a 21-bed facility.

In recent years, the hospital has had to supplement its nine ICU beds by using other units as ICU overflow areas.

When the new, extended ICU opens the Post Anaesthesia Care Unit will no longer be used as an ICU overflow area – resulting in major surgeries no longer having to be rescheduled.

Trevor O’Callaghan, CEO of the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group, which includes TUH, said: “The approval for the extension to the ICU in Tallaght University Hospital is a critical development and one that has featured in the Group priorities for some time.

“I would like to acknowledge the work and determination of the team at Tallaght University Hospital. 

“It is now more important than ever that we are strategically planning to address the clear demands and meet the predicted demand into the future in terms of the growing population and aging demographic within our communities.

“I would also like to acknowledge the support of HSE Estates who have supported this work and continue to as we progress through the next stages.”

News that funding has been secured for the ICU extension follows last month’s opening of the new Vartry Renal Dialysis Unit at TUH.

Both developments have been listed among a number of capital projects that the team at TUH believe necessary to build capacity, future proofing the local hospital for its growing and aging catchment area.

Preparatory site works for the extension have already started and the hospital has apologised for any inconvenience to visitors and patients as they access the main building in the coming months.

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