(December 2nd 2020) Tallaght University Hospital (TUH) today opened a 3,460 Sq M facility with four theatres and 25 recovery beds. The new Reeves Day Surgery Centre (RDSC) located across the road from the main hospital will eliminate long wait times for routine day surgery and increase elective day surgery activity. The goal of the new Reeves Day Surgery Centre is to reduce day surgery waiting times to a maximum of three months within 12 months of the four theatres being fully operational. Phase 1 (from December 2020) involves three of the four theatres ramping up to full activity within four months; the fourth theatre will open in Phase 2 of the development (2021-2022).
The opening of the RDSC is part of an ambitious five year strategy for the Hospital which recognises the changing direction of health care provision across the country in respect of new infrastructure requirements, more community-based services and increased reliance on innovation, technology and research-led care. The opening of the Reeves Day Surgery Centre is an important step in the realisation of this strategy and is aligned to Sláintecare policy of separating scheduled and unscheduled care. The Centre will eliminate long wait times for routine day surgery and improve access for patients and support the Hospital with the increasing demands of serving a growing and aging population.
The establishment of the centre was a joint project between TUH and IRES, building work began in October 2019. Within four months of opening, 80% of all day surgery activity across all surgical specialties in TUH will be performed in the new Centre.
Commenting on the opening of the new Reeves Day Surgery Centre at TUH, Chief Executive Lucy Nugent commented: “This year is certainly one we will never forget. As frontline workers and individuals we have been presented with many challenges this year. The fact that we are able to treat our first patients in this new modern facility before the end of the year is an incredible testament to the entire team that worked on this project. With a lot of hard work and combined commitment from staff, partners and suppliers we have achieved the impossible this year with the completion of the Vartry Renal Unit and now the opening of the Reeves Day Surgery Centre. This is despite delays due to lockdown and increased safety measures around ways of working. This new facility will serve the patients and community well over the years to come as it goes some way in helping to address the continuing challenge of access at TUH.”
Prof Paul Ridgway, Perioperative Director at TUH said “Tallaght has always been known for pioneering complex day surgery since we opened in 1998, this is a landmark day for surgery at TUH for patients and for staff. This new facility will enable us to continue to deliver on this reputation with patients being able to go home after their surgery and recover in their own beds. Day surgery can be carried out with certainty, removing the threat of having to be rescheduled due to inpatient bed pressures. We can focus on increasing our surgical activity caring for patients in a more timely fashion. There is also the benefit of the main Hospital having Dayward space that can now be used permanently for inpatient use.”
The Centre will open Monday to Friday from 7am to 8pm running two surgical sessions per day in each theatre, with each session lasting four hours in length and with a 30 minute turnaround time between each session.
TUH provides national and tertiary services to patients from all over the island of Ireland. However, it is the Hospital’s immediate catchment area’s unique demographic profile that has the greatest impact on hospital services. In 1972 the Dublin County Development Plan saw Tallaght earmarked as a new town aimed at easing city congestion. This resulted in an influx of young families who are now aging collectively, leading to a predicted population growth of 322% in those aged over 75 by 2036. This is in stark contrast to the anticipated national growth of 105%. Some of the highest rates of growth are also in areas of high relative deprivation with a high incidence of chronic disease and a relatively poor primary care infrastructure.
Older people are higher consumers of health services, so these demographic changes will increase demand for these services. In addition, the 2016 Census indicates a population of almost 644,000 people in the three main areas served by the Hospital – South Dublin, Kildare and West Wicklow. This is an increase of over 31,500 in the last five years. Notably, Saggart and Rathcoole were the fastest and 2nd fastest growing urban settlements in the country.
With the planned construction of additional private and social housing schemes in the surrounding areas, this population growth will accelerate further. TUH was originally designed as a 650 bedded hospital but due to budgetary constraints at the time 120 beds were cut from the final build. Since opening, the Hospital has experienced ever-increasing demand for its services without a commensurate increase in capacity.
The Hospital’s forecasts suggest the average bed gap will reach 125 over the next five years. This presents a host of quality of care consequences most notably unacceptably long emergency and elective wait times. The Hospital urgently needs to develop both capacity and new ways of working in order to meet increased and more complex demands. Fortunately, unlike many other hospitals, TUH is not constrained on its 33 acres campus and is able to expand both horizontally and vertically as well as offsite becoming a “Hospital without Walls”.
The name of the new Centre is an acknowledgement of the Hospitals history, the Alice Reeves Dayward in TUH has traditionally been the location for day surgery. With the move the surgical team decided to bring some of that heritage with them to the new building whilst also acknowledging the International Year of the Nurse & Midwife. Alice Reeves, began her career in the Adelaide Hospital, first as a Staff Nurse and then as a Ward Sister. She was subsequently appointed Matron to Dr. Steeven’s Hospital in 1918 and played a major part in establishing the General Nursing Council, which later became known as An Bord Altranais.
About Tallaght University Hospital
TUH is one of Ireland’s largest acute teaching hospitals, adult, psychiatric and age-related healthcare on one site. With over 3,000 staff, the Hospital is a provider of local, regional and national specialties. It is also a national urology centre, the second largest provider of dialysis services in the country and a regional orthopaedic trauma centre. The Hospital also has 67 paediatric beds under the governance of Children’s Health Ireland and 52 mental health beds under HSE governance.
TUH is one of the two main teaching hospitals of Trinity College Dublin - specialising in the training and professional development of staff in areas such as nursing, health and social care professionals, emergency medicine and surgery, amongst many others. TUH is part of the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group which serves a population of over 1.2 million across seven counties.
The Hospital’s Emergency Department catered for 52,398 Attendances in 2019. A further 251,455 patients were treated through the Hospital’s Adult outpatient clinics in 2019. The Hospital’s operations are supported by 200 general practitioners in surrounding communities and aligned with CHO7.
Tallaght University Hospital Foundation is committed to investing in TUH and promoting quality care and wellness throughout the community. If you would like to support the work of the Foundation please go to www.tuhf.ie or contact Kelly Crowley, Head of Development for TUHF on firstname.lastname@example.org