*Brenda Bleach, Registered Advanced Nurse Practitioner in the Injury Unit in Ennis Hospital. Photograph: Brian Arthur
A three percent increase has been recorded in the amount of patients that have used the local injury unit at Ennis General Hospital in 2019.
To the end of October this year, a total of 9,875 patients attended the Ennis Injury Unit, up by 3% on the corresponding period in 2018. This is also ahead of the 2% rate of increase across the Group’s three Injury Units which, to the end of October 2019, had treated a total of 28,216 patients.
The Injury Unit at Ennis Hospital is staffed by a consultant-led team of doctors, Advanced Nurse Practitioners (ANPs) and nurses who are highly experienced in the treatment of minor non-life and non-limb threatening injuries. It is open from 8am to 8pm seven days a week.
Brenda Bleach, an ANP with the Ennis Hospital Injury Unit, says: “The advantage of going to the Injury Unit over the ED if you have a minor injury is that you will be seen more quickly here. The feedback from our patients is very positive.”
Nationally, the average turn-around time for seeing and treating patients in injury units is 1-2 hours. The Injury Units in the Mid-West and across the State provide patients with the same level of expertise and service as Emergency Departments.
Eleven injury units exist in the country including one in Ennis. Broken bones, dislocations, sprain and strains, minor burns and scalds are the typical injuries dealt with, all units have access to x-ray and basic diagnostic services. Injury Units do not treat children under the age of five, serious head injuries, abdominal (stomach) pain, medical illnesses or mental health problems.
Approximately one in three of all emergency presentations across UL Hospitals Group take place within the three Injury Units. Attendances continue to increase in Nenagh, Ennis and St John’s and the Injury Units have the capacity to do more still.
Charges for patients attending major injury units has been reduced from €100 to €75 as of last Monday. No fee exists for individuals with a full medical card or a valid medical/GP referral letter. A new statutory instrument was signed by Minister for Health Simon Harris bringing forward the €25 reduction.