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Minister Opens Regional Hub for Women’s Health at Nenagh Hospital

  • Hub will ensure women ‘receive right care at the right time and in the right place’: Minister Donnelly
  • Ambulatory Gynaecology and Menopause Clinics Now Open in Nenagh
  • Subfertility Clinic to Open in Nenagh Later This Year

(NENAGH: 24.06.2022) IMPROVED access and wait times for gynaecology patients and new services around menopause care and fertility are being delivered for the women in the MidWest through the establishment of a new regional hub for women’s health at Nenagh Hospital.

Speaking as he officially opened the new hub in Nenagh Hospital this Friday, the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, said: “Promoting women’s health is a priority for me and for this Government. The services being provided in this new regional hub for women’s health demonstrate that we are committed to making our policy of improving women’s health experiences and outcomes a reality for women.”

“Developments such as ambulatory gynaecology and specialist menopause clinics, as well as the increased levels of funding being provided to women’s healthcare in 2021 and 2022 underpin our commitment in this space. The advent of this hub will go a long way to ensuring that the women of the MidWest can receive the right care, at the right time, and in the right place,” Minister Donnelly said.

Based at the new €1.4 million extension to the outpatients department at Nenagh, the hub revolves around three core services: an ambulatory gynaecology unit; a specialist menopause clinic and a subfertility service which is due to open later this year.

The ambulatory gynaecology service commenced in March 2022, one of a number of such units opened around the country under national plans to improve outcomes for women through a new model of care.

These services are being established as one-stop, “see-and-treat” gynaecology clinics in which women can be assessed and treated following a GP referral. This new model will improve access to diagnostics and treatment, resulting in fewer hospital visits and reducing overall wait times for women.

Services available through this new model of care for ambulatory gynaecology include abnormal intrauterine bleeding, chronic pelvic pain, evaluation of adnexal mass, vulval issues, sexual minority health and amenorrhea in adolescence. Among the investigations available to women in the MidWest with the establishment of the new service are pelvic ultrasound, diagnostic hysteroscopy and endometrial biopsy. Treatments and minor procedures available in the clinic include both cervical and endometrial polypectomy and intrauterine device management.

A specialist menopause clinic has also opened in Nenagh Hospital with the establishment of the women’s health hub. The service is led by consultant obstetrician/gynaecologist Dr Cathy Casey. It currently involves a consultant clinic but services are set to expand over the course of this year with the addition of a GP clinic and the recruitment of a clinical nurse specialist.

While the majority of women seeking help in menopause will continue to be treated and supported by their GP, it is anticipated that around 25% of women will meet the clinical criteria for onward referral to specialist complex menopause services such as Nenagh.

The final element of the women’s health service in Nenagh will see the opening of a regional fertility clinic later this year. This has been identified as a key component in the development of fertility services around the country by the National Women’s and Infants Health Programme, with the regional hub in Nenagh being one of six located around the country. This service will also be consultant-led; a recruitment campaign is underway and we expect to announce the appointment of a specialist in fertility services later this year.

Dr Naro Imcha, Clinical Lead for Obstetrics and Gynaecology, UL Hospitals Group, said: “We thank Minister Donnelly for his support in improving women’s health services in the MidWest and around the country. As a team of healthcare professionals, our focus is very much on the patient experience. As well as providing new specialist services at a regional level, this hub will ease the patient journey and reduce the number of hospital visits, saving time and expense for our patients and reducing anxiety. This is fundamentally about reducing wait times and improving quality of life and we are delighted today to showcase what Nenagh has done to date and our plan to develop the service into the future.”

Noreen Spillane, Chief Operations Officer, UL Hospitals Group, said: “This modern development for Nenagh includes a procedure room, consulting rooms, ultrasound rooms and other facilities specifically for the women’s health hub. We have been supported in providing this service by the Women’s Health Taskforce and by the National Women’s and Infants Health Programme. Feedback on the service from patients and staff to date has been very positive. We are privileged to be able to offer these additional services to the women of the MidWest, enhancing access to specialist care delivered by a multidisciplinary team.”