The Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) at Ennis Hospital, part of UL Hospitals Group, is now operating 7 days a week.
Medical Assessment Units (MAUs) facilitate the immediate assessment, diagnosis and treatment of patients presenting with medical conditions such as chest infections, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), Pneumonia, Urinary Tract Infections, fainting episodes, clots in the leg, anaemia or non acute cardiac problems. These patients, whilst they don’t necessarily require admission to hospital, do require assessment, investigations and a treatment plan which sometimes requires follow up review in the Unit after a few days. The new extended opening hours mean that these patients now have greater access to this vital service.
Patients are referred to the MAU via a Case Manager by their GP, Shannondoc or through University Hospital Limerick (UHL) once it has been established that they are suitable for the service. Patients will generally be offered an appointment on the same day or at the latest, the next day, a follow up appointment will be arranged upon discharge.
Since opening in 2013, the number of patients presenting at Ennis MAU has increased year on year, between 20-35 patients are assessed daily. They may have bloods taken, x-rays performed or other diagnostic tests completed whilst attending the MAU for assessment.
It is hoped that the expansion of opening hours at the Ennis MAU to include weekends will help to ease overcrowding in the Emergency Department at University Hospital Limerick but more importantly will also provide and enhance the service for the local people and GP’s of the Mid West region.
Dr. Tom Peirce is the consultant in charge at the MAU in Ennis, said Dr. Peirce, “Patients who come to see us in the MAU must be assessed and then referred by their GP. GPs will liaise with our Case Manager Patricia Donovan to discuss each case individually. We aim to see patients within two hours of arrival. In approximately 15% of cases, we will admit the patients who come to the MAU but the emphasis is on same day diagnosis, treatment and discharge wherever possible. We work very closely with the Community Intervention Teams to ensure a seamless pathway of care for the patient between our hospital and home.”
Dr. Seamus Geraghty formerly a GP in Ennis, is now working as a Registrar in the Ennis MAU. Said Dr Geraghty, “Our colleagues in primary care have given us very positive feedback about the MAU service. They believe that it is a much better model for patients suffering from chronic conditions or the elderly, who are seen quicker than they would be in a busy ED. They also welcome the seamless continuity of care between hospital and community and that patients will be seen by MAU staff on the day following treatment.” The MAU in Ennis will be open from 8.00am to 6.00pm on Monday to Friday and from 10.00am to 6.00pm on Saturday and Sunday. In addition to the MAU in Ennis, there are MAUs in UHL, Nenagh and St. John’s, operating 5 days a week, 8.00am to 6.00pm. The MAU in Ennis Hospital should not be confused with the Local Injury Unit or (LIU) treating minor injuries in patients aged 5 years and older. Patients can self-refer to the LIU or they can be referred by their GP.
If patients are in any doubt about whether they should go to their local LIU or MAU or the Emergency Department, they should speak to their GP or contact the LIU, MAU or ED directly. Full contact details are available on www.ulh.ie
Last updated on: 18 / 05 / 2016