Wexford General Hospital experienced extensive damage in a devastating fire, including a partial roof collapse alongside water and fire damage to buildings and medical equipment. The damage extended to ‘large parts’ of the hospital leaving it in need of significant construction and electrical works. Thankfully no-one was injured in the blaze. All but 29 of the 219 patients on site at the time had to be evacuated or relocated to other facilities and half of the hospital’s beds were closed. Alongside the accident and emergency department, endoscopy procedures were one of the services at the 270 bed hospital to have been impacted as a result of the fire.
With a large population, and serving a community of 163,919 people, the hospital’s diagnostic services were already under pressure in terms of demand and waiting time and any extended suspension of these essential procedures would have had extremely negative effects.
The hospital needed a solution which could be on site and operational quickly and which could ensure it maintained pre-fire patient throughput levels.
Working with their partner, Kildare-based Accuscience Ireland and the team at the hospital, Q-bital Healthcare Solutions arranged for Wexford to take delivery of a mobile endoscopy suite. The suite would provide a ‘one-stop’ facility from reception, consultation, procedure and recovery as well as offering an internal decontamination facility.
The standalone facility was to be placed in a dedicated area on site offering patients the ability to attend their appointments without a need to visit the main hospital building.
Until it become operational, the team utilised temporary solutions of using rooms in case of emergencies and also extended the working day and week in an offsite facility also run by the hospital. However, both solutions were not sustainable in the long term and brought with them added costs as well as inconvenience in terms of scope decontamination.
Following ministerial support, it was agreed the Q-bital solution would best meet the hospital’s urgent need for reinstated endoscopy services. While awaiting its delivery, the hospital accessed virtual walkarounds and other materials provided by Q-bital to help the team familiarise themselves with the facility.
The facility was delivered after a road and ferry journey from Q-bital’s Manningtree location. Following a period of site works including the building of a connecting corridor, commissioning, testing and validation of utilities such as water and electrics, the unit became operational in June 2023.
The Q-bital mobile endoscopy facility is allowing clinicians to deliver the equivalent number of procedures of 18 JAG points per day. It is operating an average of five days a week, with additional sessions every second Saturday. The team performs a range of procedures including colonoscopies, gastroscopies and sigmoidoscopies.
The team at Wexford praised its ‘seamless’ delivery. Although it is smaller than the environment the team previously worked within, the feedback has been positive from both staff and patients. Both appreciate that the facility is separate from the main hospital, although connected by a purpose built corridor, particularly in the event of any viral outbreak.
In place for at least 12 months, the facility is providing the same capacity in terms of procedures (18 JAG points plus two emergencies) as the previously in-house endoscopy suite.
This was a very important project. Our partnership with Accuscience enable us to design and deliver a fully equipped endoscopy facility at pace.