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A recruitment process for new staff and the expansion of the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) in Ennis Hospital is underway.

An additional four slots will be created at the MAU with a non-consultant hospital doctor and a clerical staff member already in post. Additional resources in nursing, allied health and general support staff are now at various stages of an ongoing recruitment process.

Once these posts are in place, the number of weekly slots at the MAU will increase by 28. In December, the National Treatment Purchase Fund approved funding which will ultimately result in the creation of an additional 48 slots per week, from 156 to 204 per week, at the MAU. The effect of the changes means the service in Ennis will have effectively doubled since the beginning of 2020.

MAU’s provide assessment, diagnosis and treatment of patients referred with medical conditions including chest infections, COPD, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, fainting episodes, clots in the leg, anaemia or non-acute cardiac problems. Approximately 10% of cases may require admission to hospital and the majority will be discharged with a follow-up review in the unit within 48 hours.

According to officials within the UL Hospitals Group, this model of care will be suited to elderly people and persons suffering from chronic conditions.

Clare TD, Michael McNamara (IND) believed the expansion provided “considerable benefits for the people of Clare while it also will help to alleviate pressure on admissions to University Hospital Limerick, something which I have repeatedly highlighted during the past year”.

Deputy McNamara added, “The MAU service in Ennis, which saw a 4% increase in referrals in 2019, is well-established and is the only such service in the UL Hospitals Group that has been open on a seven-day basis since 2016. Its hours of operations during weekdays are also longer than in either Nenagh or St. John’s. The expansion of services will be very much welcomed by the people of Clare and the GP community in the county”.

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