Posted on October 27, 2015

The Dr. Jim Mahon Library and Education Centre and the Susie Long Day Services Unit at St Luke’s General Hospital Carlow- Kilkenny were officially opened by the Minister of State with Responsibility for Rural Economic Development and Social Enterprise, Ann Phelan T.D.

These are the first departments of the extensive new €21 million capital development of the Hospital to be officially opened and it is planned that all services transferring will have been moved incrementally on a planned basis by the end of the year, including the Emergency Department, Acute Medical Assessment Unit, Hepatology and Oncology departments.

The Dr. Jim Mahon Library and Education Centre, which was part funded by the University of Limerick (UL), the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI),  and the Health Service Executive, will embrace all aspects of medical education and continuing professional development. This new library also includes the amalgamation of two smaller healthcare libraries located within the Carlow/Kilkenny area.

“This is a really welcome investment of €21 million capital development for St Luke’s Hospital.  It was one of two large scale Capital Investments during the lifetime of this Government. I am delighted to officially open the new Susie Long Day Services Unit and the Dr Jim Mahon Library and Education Centre, proving that education and health services are synonymous with each other, ensuring a better outcomes for patients across Carlow and Kilkenny.” Minister Phelan outlined.

“I know first-hand from speaking with people on a daily basis that investment of this size is not lost on anyone. It is incredibly significant and will ensure that patients attending St Luke’s Hospital, will continue to receive high-quality health care in a safe, respectful environment. Patient health and safety has always been top priority in St Luke’s, regardless of what medical service is being provided or who is receiving medical care.”

The Minister concluded “I want to acknowledge the hard work of the staff and their teams and of course, the families of the late Susie Long and Dr Jim Mahon. It is fitting that the Day Services Unit and the Educational Centre will be dedicated in their memories, securing improved health outcomes for patients into the future.”

Anne Slattery, General Manager at St Luke’s General Hospital, which is incorporated into the Ireland East Hospital Group, said that the two new facilities will be enormously beneficial to patients:

“The Susie Long Day Services Unit and the Dr. Jim Mahon Library and Education Centre are the culmination of years of planning which will be hugely beneficial to patients and staff. These are the first two departments in our wider €21 million capital project to be officially opened and we look forward to welcoming patients to our new Susie Long Day Services Unit in the coming weeks and the transfer of the various other services over the next eight weeks.”

The Dr.Jim Mahon Library and Education Centre consists of:

• Two tutorial rooms
• Two seminar rooms
• Extensive book and journal displays
• Up to 40 reading spaces
• eJournal/book access
• Wi-Fi, video conferencing
• Meeting areas and tutor offices

The library and education service will provide access for undergraduate /post graduate students  in the health care service in addition to the many staff including doctors, nurses, professions allied to medicine and  all other staff working in health service delivery  (hospital and community) in Carlow/Kilkenny to a comprehensive range of evidence-based, up-to-date knowledge resources.

The Library and Education Centre is dedicated to the late Dr. Jim Mahon who was a distinguished and respected Consultant Physician in St. Luke’s for many years and who initially  founded  the small library that has been used by students and staff for  their professional development and research to date. This new educational development will support the students and staff who provide health services in ensuring that up to date information is available for research and development, which ultimately improves the quality of the service being delivered to the patients in Carlow/Kilkenny.

Speaking at the event, Professor Michael Larvin, Head of UL’s Graduate Entry Medical School, commented:

“UL is thrilled to see the opening of this state-of-the-art educational facility, marking the continuation of the late Dr Jim Mahon’s work commenced many years ago.  He had the foresight to recognise the importance of continuing education for healthcare staff.  Keeping ‘up to date’ is now recognised as a prerequisite to safe healthcare, and this modern learning hub will allow all healthcare professionals and our undergraduate students to avail of the latest technology to accomplish this.  This has been a fruitful collaboration between UL and RCSI with St Luke’s Hospital, and both of our medical schools look forward to seeing our students learn alongside other healthcare students and staff, in the same way that modern multi professional healthcare teams now work together.  Both schools are very grateful for the quality of education and support that St Luke’s staff provide for our students based here, which is reflected in the highly appreciative feedback they provide to us.  We hope that St Luke’s will continue to host both of streams of students in the longer term, and look forward to seeing the Dr Jim Mahon Library & Education Centre being fully utilised.”

Professor Hannah McGee, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, RCSI said:

“As Ireland’s largest provider of medical and health sciences education, RCSI is committed to excellence in education. Central to this, is the provision of high quality learning environments for our students to receive their training.  This new Library & Education Centre will further strengthen the educational links and co-operation that exist between RCSI and the HSE and also between RCSI and St. Luke’s General Hospital Carlow-Kilkenny.”

Susie Long Day Services Unit:

The Day Services Unit, is dedicated to the late Susie Long, who advocated for improved access for endoscopy procedures arsing from the delay with her diagnosis and her untimely death.  This ambulatory care facility will provide accommodation for patients attending for endoscopy (including colonoscopy), day surgery (including general surgery and gynaecology), medical investigations and treatment and dental surgery.

The principal elements of the accommodation will include:

• 24 trolley bays
• Two single treatment rooms
• Two procedure rooms
• Two endoscopy rooms
• A 10 patient discharge area
• Support accommodation

Prof Garry Courtney, Clinical Director at St Luke’s General Hospital, added that St. Luke’s was delighted to work with the RCSI and UL in order to provide state of the art educational and learning facilities:

“This partnership will greatly enhance the integration, collaboration, teaching, research and education opportunities for our medical students along with all staff. It is also fitting that the new centre will be dedicated to the late Dr Jim Mahon who was an advocate for ongoing education and research within the hospital in addition to being an excellent clinician.”

Prof Courtney said that the opening of the Susie Long Day Services Unit will be of significant benefit to patients requiring diagnoses of their illness:

“We are all well aware of the long road that Susie Long and her family had to travel and it was Susie’s wish that no other patient would experience similar delays in accessing treatment. It is in her name that we are opening this new facility here today which will double our day patient capacity.”

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