UPMC Whitfield Hospital, the largest private hospital in the South East, has announced it is to open a new Outreach Centre at Shamrock Plaza in Carlow next month.
The new facility joins UPMC’s family of services and facilities in Ireland that also includes UPMC Whitfield Hospital in Waterford; the UPMC Hillman Cancer Centre, which has locations in Waterford and Cork; and the UPMC Concussion Network, the first countrywide network of healthcare providers for the diagnosis and treatment of concussion.
Cardiology, Ophthalmology, Sports Medicine and Urology specialists from UPMC Whitfield Hospital will deliver pre- and post-operation outpatient appointments at the new Carlow centre, allowing patients to receive timely access to healthcare as close to home as possible and removing the need to travel.
The Centre will also host regular education events for GPs from across the region.
Miriam Griffin, manager of the new UPMC Carlow Outreach Centre, will be at UPMC’s tent at the National Ploughing Championships all this week, delivering information sessions at 1pm daily about the new Centre.
She said ongoing investment at both UPMC’s Carlow and Waterford facilities will significantly boost capacity for patients from across the South East region.
Ms Griffin said:"Our new Outreach Centre will ensure easy and quick access for Carlow patients to our consultants and then immediate access to services at UPMC Whitfield Hospital, should they require a procedure.
"We are significantly expanding our radiology department at the hospital in Waterford with the purchase of a second CT scanner and a new MRI, a 3T scanner which will be the only one of its kind in the region and will allow for the most technologically advanced diagnostics.
"These investments will significantly increase our diagnostic capacity.
"We also have an additional theatre – our sixth - coming on stream later this year, while our new Cath lab and Coronary Care Unit will be operational early in 2020."
Plans are also in development to base a volunteer-led transport service for cancer patients at the new Outreach Centre.
Through a partnership with the HSE, the UPMC Hillman Cancer Centre in Waterford has been providing radiotherapy to public and private patients for the past 13 years.
But another key partner in this service is the South East Radiotherapy Trust (SERT), which offers free bus transport to radiotherapy patients from across the South East to the Waterford centre for treatment.
SERT is currently working on plans to expand this service to Carlow.
Patients will be collected from the UPMC Carlow Outreach Centre by one of SERT’s 150 volunteer drivers and delivered to the Waterford facility to receive their treatment, before being returned home.
David Beirne, chief executive officer at UPMC Whitfield Hospital and Senior Vice President, UPMC International, said: "Cancer patients in Carlow currently have to drive or take the train in order to receive treatment, adding further difficulties to what is already a challenging and stressful time.
"The South East Radiotherapy Trust is a fantastic, volunteer-powered service supporting patients across the region and we’re delighted to be working with them to ensure patients can take full advantage of the world-class treatment facilities right on their doorstep at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Centre."
Gordon Watson, Chair of the South East Radiotherapy Trust, said: "Many of our drivers have themselves received treatment for cancer at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Centre.
"We already provide door-to-door and pick-up point collection for patients in Waterford City, Clonmel, Dungarvan, Kilkenny, Wexford and South Tipperary – and we’re looking forward to expanding our service to support those in Carlow undergoing radiotherapy."
UPMC Whitfield Hospital has over 50 expert consultants working across a range of specialties, including radiotherapy; cardiology; orthopaedics; ophthalmology; oncology/haematology; radiology; ear, nose and throat; gynaecology; urology and general surgery.
These are supported by a wider team of dedicated medical, nursing and administration staff to ensure the 70-bed hospital offers patients the right care, in the right way, at the right time – in a first-class facility that is close to home.
The hospital is operated by UPMC, an international, not-for-profit health care company that is transforming the way care is provided.
Trusted by millions of patients across the world and affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh, UPMC operates 40 hospitals, as well as 700 doctors' offices and outpatient sites, and is now delivering this global expertise to those living in the South East of Ireland.