Mullingar hospital opening new off campus Minor Injury Unit
Midland Regional Hospital Mullingar is opening a new off campus Minor Injury Unit (MIU) at Charter Medical Private Hospital, Ballinderry next Monday, November 7.
The new public MIU will be open seven days a week (Monday to Friday 8am-6pm and Saturday and Sunday 10am-6pm, closed on bank holidays). Most importantly, the waiting times at the MIU will be significantly less than at the main Emergency Department where staff prioritise treating acutely ill patients.
“There is a very short turn around, a maximum of probably two hours and that includes full assessment, treatment and diagnostic,” MRH Mullingar manager Kay Slevin told the Westmeath Examiner.
At other hospitals around the country, the opening of dedicated MIUs has helped take the pressure off the main emergency department and reduced waiting times. Ms Slevin says that the new facility opening on Monday should have a similar postive impact for patients and staff in Mullingar as a significant number of self referrals, in particular, to the ED are diagnosed as having minor injuries.
“We know that minor injury units significantly ease pressure on a hospital’s emergency department. The opening of this new MIU in Mullingar means that patients will receive the right care at the right place, at the right time. They will also receive that care faster than if they were to attend a busy emergency department, where more acutely ill patients must be treated as a priority.”
Patients without medical cards who attend the new MIU service will be charged a fee of €75, which is €25 less than what they would have to pay if they were to attend the Emergency Department. There is no charge for patients who have medical card or who have a referral letter from either their General Practice or from the ED.
Injuries that will be treated at the MIU include:
• Suspected broken bones to arm (from collar bone to fingertip)
• Suspected broken bones in legs (from knees to toes)
• Sprains and strains
• Wounds, bites (animal or insect) cuts, grazes and scalp laceration
• Minor burns and scalds
• Foreign bodies
• Minor chest injuries
The new MIU will also provide full imaging and x-ray facilities in order for patients to be fully diagnosed and treated onsite.
The MIU has been located at Charter Medical Private Hospital due to the shortage of available space at Mullingar hospital, at present. However, with a number of major capital projects on the horizon this could change, Ms Slevin says.
“It's located there because we don't have space here at the moment, but it is essentially an extension of our own Emergency Department. At the the end of the six month pilot period we will review the operations... All of the sytems, the diagnostic systems, the patients' records and everything will be here on site. It's literally the physical location of the MIU that will be offsite for the initial months.
“...We are delighted with this new development and extension to our hospital services and more importantly for our patients presenting with minor injuries who previously found themselves waiting for longer periods of time in the Emergency Department. The new MIU is a walk-in service with no referral necessary and full diagnostics are available on site.
"The development of a Minor Injury Unit will also benefit our excellent and committed Emergency Department staff who continue to provide a valued emergency service to our patients,” added Ms Slevin.
Declan Lyons, CEO Ireland East Hospital Group commented, “We know that MIUs significantly ease pressures on a hospital’s ED. The opening of this new MIU in Mullingar means that patients will receive the right care at the right place, at the right time. They will also receive that care faster than if they were to attend a busy emergency department, where more acutely ill patients must be treated as a priority.”
Damien McCallion, HSE Chief Operations Officer said: “Injury Units play a critical role in supporting our Emergency Departments. They enable patients who do not require Emergency Department care to be treated quickly and help protect the Emergency Department for patients who require emergency care. As part of our improvements to urgent and emergency care for patients we are delighted to see another local Injury Unit in place. The HSE is working closely with hospital groups to identify where we can further extend the opening hours of our network of Injury Units.”
The news has also been welcomed by Deputy Robert Troy who says that the opening of MIU should help the main Emergency Department run more efficiently.
“It means that patients with minor injuries will be treated in a dedicated unit in a timely fashion rather than having lengthy waits in a busy ED where they obviously need to prioritise more acutely ill patients.
“I'd like to thank all of our front line health workers who continue to do great work in challenging environments. Hopefull this development will assist in that regard.”