Mercy University Hospital staff have treated over 3,000 patients at the new Mercy Urgent Care Centre at St. Mary’s Health Campus (former St. Mary’s Orthopaedic Hospital), Gurranabraher, Cork, since it opened last March (2012).
The average turnaround time from registration desk to discharge is currently 65 minutes and the most common injuries seen are hand and ankle. Just over 1,500 were self-referrals with the remainder being referred by other services such as general practitioners (GPs).
Ms Sandra Daly, Chief Executive Officer Mercy University Hospital said: “This new service is fully operational and to date the statistics show that people attending with injuries that are unlikely to require hospital admission are seen quickly and discharged. Those requiring hospital admission have the benefit of the Mercy Urgent Care Centre’s link with the Mercy University Hospital’s 24/7 emergency department and the full range of acute hospital services we offer. “The Mercy Urgent Care Centre reaffirms Mercy University Hospital’s pivotal role in the provision of emergency services in the Cork region. Patients from all over Cork city and surrounding areas with minor injuries are encouraged to attend anytime between 8 am and 6 pm, weekdays and weekends.”
The number of patients at the centre fluctuates from day to day but drops at weekends. Most days, on average, the centre treats approximately 21 patients, who self-refer or are referred from GPs, hospitals and other medical organisations.
The Mercy Urgent Care Centre is open seven days a week (Monday to Sunday) from 8.00am to 6.00pm. It treats patients’ aged 10 and over with minor injuries such as suspected broken bones, minor burns, scalds and cuts requiring stitching. Unlike some minor injuries units the centre has facilities to take x-rays and apply plaster casts. It does not treat small children who should be taken to the Emergency Department at the Mercy University Hospital or Cork University Hospital.
The centre is led by Dr Gerard McCarthy, consultant in emergency medicine, Cork city hospitals and staffed by doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, radiographers and other health care professionals. There is one CNM3 (Critical Nurse Manager) and two staff nurses, a doctor, a radiographer, a multi task attendant and reception staff on duty during core opening hours. Physiotherapists and social workers are available for two days a week on a sessional basis.
The normal €100 emergency department charge applies to non-medical cardholders, but is not applicable for patients referred from GPs, or Southdoc with a doctor’s letter.
Patients attending the centre have been commending the staff on the service provided. Highlighting the service provided by Mercy Urgent Care Centre staff have been making presentations at local community meetings such as Men’s Health Groups, Niche and Rapid groups and interagency forums in Cork city.