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Minister opens new developments at Letterkenny University Hospital

Minister opens new developments at Letterkenny University Hospital

The Minister for Health Simon Harris TD visited Letterkenny University Hospital (LUH) on Monday December 12th. During the visit the Minister met with management and staff at the hospital and formally opened the Integrated Blood Sciences Department and the Postgraduate Medical Learning Centre.

Commenting, Saolta Group Chief Executive Maurice Power said, “We were delighted to have the opportunity to meet with Minister Harris today and highlight to him the excellent work being undertaken here in Letterkenny. The visit provides the Minister with the opportunity to see the scale of the redevelopment that has been undertaken at the hospital over the last three years”.

The Minister formally opened two new developments at the hospital, the Integrated Blood Sciences Laboratory and the Postgraduate Medical Learning Centre. Seán Murphy, Letterkenny University Hospital General Manager stated, “The Integrated Blood Sciences Laboratory at LUH is one of the first of its kind in Ireland. The new analytical equipment is state of the art and this laboratory is the most modern of its kind in Ireland, north or south. The development of this new department brings together the endocrinology, biochemistry, haematology and serology departments into a single division and has allowed staff turn around samples faster and more efficiently. This allows clinicians have a clearer clinical picture in the provision of their treatment to patients. The lab now also provides a same day service to GPs, which gives a very comprehensive service to primary care, ensuring that patients can receive the best care plan. The new technology has also reduced the length of time medical scientists spend on various testing, therefore improving efficiencies in the laboratory."

Minister Harris also officially opened the new Postgraduate Medical Learning Centre at LUH. This new facility will enable the teaching of clinical skills to healthcare practitioners at the hospital. It will include a medical simulation room equipped with advanced educational technology. Seán Murphy added,”The Postgraduate Medical Learning Centre will facilitate the learning that every healthcare professional will need but will not always be able to engage in during real life patient care. Medical simulation will allow healthcare professionals perfect their clinical skills, systems and communications skills in a mock situation to ensure that patients are offered the best clinical care and best possible outcomes. The provision of this facility at LUH will assist in the recruitment and retention of junior and senior healthcare staff. In an ever-changing medical world with emergent technologies and techniques, this facility will provide the space and equipment to allow our doctors continually develop their knowledge and skills."

These two projects are part of the ongoing rebuild projects that have been underway at LUH since late 2013. Work has also commenced on the new Coronary Care Unit and the Haematology/Oncology ward development, which will provide enhanced facilities for patients, including an increased number of isolation rooms. These facilities will be completed in April 2017. Commenting on the development that has taken place over the last three years Seán Murphy added, “We have redeveloped the Emergency Department / Acute Medical Assessment Unit, the Pharmacy Department, the Pulmonary Laboratory, the Chapels, the Catering and Dining facilities, the Pathology Laboratory and the interim in-patient Physiotherapy and OT facility. Work is expected to begin in early 2017 on the new Radiology Department with further projects including the Mortuary, Changing Rooms and Stores, the Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy Departments and the Outpatient Department to be progressed in the future.”

Minister for Health Launches Donegal Medical Academy

Academy integrates medical education with clinical delivery for medical doctors of the future

Monday, 12 December, 2016: Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD today (12 December 2016) officially launched the Donegal Medical Academy, an NUI Galway partnership with Saolta University Health Care Group and Letterkenny University Hospital for the training of doctors. The Academy is housed in a purpose-designed facility located on the grounds of Letterkenny University Hospital.

This is a major investment by NUI Galway into clinical training in Donegal, the final in a series of medical academies in the West/North West region. Construction of similar facilities at Sligo and Mayo University Hospitals were completed and opened last year.

Speaking at the Launch, Minister for Health, Mr Simon Harris TD said: “The NUI Galway medical academies provide a practical link between the classroom and the clinic by mixing teaching with practical training.  We know that for our trainee doctors to assimilate into the Irish health system they need a medical school education that prepares them for the practicalities of the day job, so I’m pleased that students in Letterkenny will now have access to a holistic education in one location.”

Medical Education and Clinical Delivery
The new Donegal Medical Academy will allow doctors of the future to fine tune their clinical skills under the watchful eyes of tutors and lecturers covering all medical specialties. Up to 60 students per semester from third, fourth and final medical years rotate through Letterkenny University Hospital for one year clinical training. The co-location of the Academy with the hospital is deliberate as it allows students to attend didactic teaching in the Academy and also bedside teaching in the hospital.  One of the strengths of the NUI Galway Medical academies is the ratio of both tutors to students and also of students to patients. 

Speaking at the launch of the Donegal Medical Academy, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne said: “The Donegal Medical Academy is the fifth NUI Galway teaching site in the West and North West region. The new academy in Letterkenny will provide better learning outcomes for students; better treatment rates for patients, with increased skilled personnel on wards; and for the hospital it ensures better opportunities for recruitment and retention of top staff through association with a major University. We know that regional healthcare settings can be quite different to those in cities, so by exposing our students to a variety of healthcare environments we encourage them to embrace the opportunities here, ensuring they can become the local healthcare workforce of the future.”

Letterkenny University Hospital provides students with clinical experience and supervision in a wide variety of general medical and surgical clinical disciplines and sub-specialities.  Since January 2016, the Donegal Medical Academy has also been welcoming students as part of the School’s new Junior Internship programme which focuses on preparedness for clinical practice and professionalism and is supported by an intern mentoring programme. The School of Medicine supports the development of its graduates to a level of excellence in preparedness for internship and clinical life, equipping them with a complex skill set to perform as competent clinicians, academics, leaders and educators in a changing, complex and demanding working environment. Final year medical students will from January be working on the wards as part of a clinical team and functioning as junior interns, fully supported yet immersed in team working and decision making. They will be supported by supervising consultants and will work closely with interns to learn about the clinical environment first hand and to ease their transition from student to junior doctor.

The medical curriculum at NUI Galway is a five or six year programme with an annual intake of approximately 180 students. The curriculum is innovative and integrates the life sciences with clinical practice, provides for early patient exposure, immersion in a variety of clinical environments and, from the 2015/16 academic year onwards, will also be emphasising intern preparedness to a greater extent.

Commenting, Mr Muyiwa Aremu, Dean of Medical Education in Donegal, said: Donegal Medical Academy has been a catalyst for the development of undergraduate medical education in Letterkenny University Hospital and the community of County Donegal.  The Academy started in 2011 with 20 students in their third year of medical training and has expanded in its capacity since then, now looking after 60 students from third, fourth and final year. The construction of this state of the art facility began in January 2015 and comprises of clinical skills laboratory, large lecture theatre, and small group teaching rooms. It is a significant medical education investment by NUI Galway in Letterkenny University Hospital and County Donegal at large.  Quality medical training is the bedrock of excellent patient care and this is exactly what Donegal Medical Academy is delivering in conjunction with NUI Galway, GP surgeries in County Donegal and Letterkenny University Hospital.”

Donegal Medical Academy Building
Donegal Medical Academy is sited within the boundaries of Letterkenny University Hospital. The building, forms an integrated yet defined extension to the existing Hospital and is strategically located adjacent to the main healthcare campus entrance. The project has delivered a multipurpose teaching, study and learning facility and the co-location of the Academy with the hospital facilitates allows students to attend didactic teaching in the Academy and also bedside teaching in the hospital.

Delivered through close collaboration with the HSE, the project began in March of 2015 and was completed in January 2016.  Designed by Rhatigan Architects, in Sligo with the work undertaken by the local construction firm of Boyle Construction. The project represents a major investment by NUI Galway into clinical training and was funded at a cost in the region of €2 million. The HSE has also funded the second floor of the building which will be fitted out at a later date to accommodate an expansion of the Renal Dialysis facilities. The final result comprises a stunning and innovative architectural design. The building encompasses many features that facilitate a flexible approach to teaching and the various spaces within the building are designed to accommodate different student group sizes simultaneously.

Emphasis is placed on internet and WiFi connectivity within the building, including various teleconferencing links to NUI Galway. A lecture theatre, clinical skills space and student reading room comprise some of the many attractive features of the Donegal Medical Academy.  Students will have 24-hour access to facilities on the ground floor, enabling easy transfer from the hospital to a more personal learning environment.

Sean Murphy, General Manager Letterkenny University Hospital added: “The opening of this Academy is a welcome development here at Letterkenny University Hospital and it will enhance the hospital’s reputation and contribute over time to even higher standards of patient care in all of our clinical departments. This new facility also builds on our links with our academic and research partners. The further integration of medical education and clinical delivery will support the recruitment and retention of the highest quality medical staff to our hospital and the region. This partnership with NUI Galway Medical School has delivered a quantum enhancement of our medical training role.”

The article above is specific to the following Saolta hospitals:: 
Letterkenny University Hospital (LUH)