TheLiberty is a local paper for Dublin's south inner city

February 2001

Coombe hospital reaching full capacity

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The Coombe Hospital: now serves the largest health area in Ireland

By Aoife Stokes

THE Master of the Coombe Women's Hospital, Dr Sean Daly, has expressed concern that its service will reach a limit in terms of the number of women they can care for.

This year is the 175th anniversary of the hospital's foundation. The year 2000 was the busiest year at the women's hospital in over 20 years with 7,496 babies born there. This figure is representative of 7,389 women from 90 different countries who gave birth there last year.

The hospital is also the largest provider of gynaecological services in Ireland, performing more than 5,800 operations last year. The Coombe now serves the largest health area in the country, with a population of over half a million people. This is the result of newly-designated Health Authority areas that have placed the hospital in the South West Region. This includes the Southwest of Dublin, South County Dublin, South Kildare and West Wicklow.

In order to cope with this increased demand on the hospital's resources, there are plans to expand the existing premises with the addition of two new wings. The development, which has not yet received a starting date of construction, is to be funded by both the Department of Health and Children and the Eastern Regional Health Authority (EHRA).

Speaking of the Coombe's increased catchment area, Dr Daly said, "Thanks to the professionalism and dedication of our medical, nursing and support staff, the hospital is coping with the significant increase in demand for both our maternity and gynaecological services. The demands on all our staff are much greater now than 20 years ago and the situation may arise where we reach a limit in terms of the number of women we can care for.

"Ultimately it is our responsibility that the highest standards are maintained and that all women and infants receive the highest quality services."

The new buildings will incorporate a new parentcraft department, a neonatal centre, an ultrasound department and a new caesarian section theatre. The hospital's intensive care unit will be doubled and 15 extra postnatal beds will also become available due to the new extension.