Official opening of the B.Braun Wellstone Dialysis Clinic in Portlaoise. Pictures: Michael Scully
Some five years after it was first planned the staff, management and patients of a state of the art health facility in Portlaoise have finally been able to celebrate its opening.
It was more than appropriate that a patient of the B.Braun Wellstone Clinic was given the honour of cutting the ribbon on the €5 million renal dialysis centre off the Southern Link Road in the Laois town.
Keith Cullen is one of the lucky recipients of a kidney transplant but before he got that life changing call from Beaumont hospital he along with many others have and are depending on the clinic for life.
Keith was among the patients who paid glowing tributes at the opening to the staff who provide the lifeline three times a week.
The journey began in 2013 when B Braun expressed an interest in providing a service to the HSE. The work really began in 2017 after the global firm based in Germany won a HSE contract to provide a non-acute dialysis service in conjunction with the Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore.
The clinic began operating in October 2019. Since then 43 patients have been treated at the unit. It currently has 28 people receiving treatment three times weekly who would otherwise would have to travel to Dublin or Tullamore. There is capacity for up to 60 people to recieve care in the clinic wich has 15 dialysis stations, three isolation units and three self-care stations.
“This facility is a tribute to the collective work of many talented and dedicated people in Irish healthcare,” the B.Braun Managing Director Liam Ferguson told the launch on Thursday, October 14.
Pictured: Gerard Farrell (Clinical Manager), Kieth Cullen Mountrath & Portlaoise (former dialysis patient) cutting the ribbon and Fiona Duggan (Head of Ambulatory Care - B.Braun). Photo: Michael Scully.
He listed the National Renal Office, the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group and all at the renal unit in Tullamore hospital as the key partners.
He thanked the B.Braun's global management team as well as the Irish management, construction and design teams for helping them to deliver the project and service.
He said “vision, determination and commitment” had been shown to deliver a world class service for people living in Laois and surrounding areas. He said the service puts the patients first.
"The main beneficiaries of this state of the art clinic will be the patients in the Midlands that depend on this life sustaining renal replacement therapy. We believe those patients deserve nothing but the best,” he said.
Pictured: Denise Carmody (CNM 1), Libertine Tronso (nurse), Mary Handcock (nurse), Sabrina Ruth (PCT), Gerard Farrell (Clinical Manager), Nichola Lanigan (HCA), Carole Townsend Rebecca Maher (Admin Supervisor) and Dan Supangan (nurse).
He said enormous credit is due to the staff who have cared for people through the pandemic.
“Thank you for your unyielding commitment to patient care in the face of untold adversity. When things were at their worst you were at your very best,” he said.
Fiona Duggan, Head of Ambulatory Care, thanked all staff who help deliver the service.
She said the Covid-19 restrictions reduced the attendance at the launch but many sent messages by video. They were led by
Dr Eoin Bergin is Consultant Nephrologist at Tullamore hospital who works closely with the clinic, did not attend in person but sent a video message.
“This unit has opened in Portlaoise largely as a reflection of how busy we are in the midlands. Our cooperation with B.Braun in developing and operating the unit has been critical in maintaining the service we provide for our patients.
“The standard of care has been excellent and the staff have great experience. The staff deliver care in a very humorous and thoughtful way,” he said.
Pictured: Noreen Galvin (CNM 3 Tullamore), Maria Raftery (CNS B.Braun), Denise Carmody (CNM 1), Gerard Farrell (Clinical Manager), Jini Jacob (ANOP Tullamore) and Jomin Joykutty (CNM 2 Tullamore).
Among the other people to wish the centre well were HSE management, B.Braun management and others such as Laois Offaly TD and Minister of State Sean Fleming.
“B.Braun is one of the biggest healthcare companies in the world and have many locations throughout Ireland. The people I met in the centre were full of praise for the service they receive when they go in for dialysis. This saves people in Laois and surrounding counties lengthy journeys for dialysis,” he said.
Speaking at the launch Clinic Manager Ger Farrell paid special thanks to the staff who have been central to the Clinic's success.
He presented a video of some of the 43 people who have benefited from its care.
Among them were Darren Connolly who lives with his wife and young family in Laois no longer has to face an arduous trip to Dublin for care.
“I would recommend it to anyone,” he said.
Paddy Rowan lives 12 miles from Portlaoise but the journey is a lot shorter then when he received care at a hospital hours from his home.
“God. I surely do feel better for being in here,” he said.
“I feel very safe here. The staff are lovely,” said Margaret Fenlon.
Michael McFarland Campbell summed up the quality of care. “Friendly faces, albeit behind masks, but you can see it in their eyes.
"Here I very much feel I am cared about. I the past when I was going to hospital there were days I had to be persuaded to go. I have never had to be persuaded to come here,” he concluded.
Pictured BELOW: Paul Challoner (Global Nurse Director - B.Braun), Liam Ferguson (Managing Director), Fiona Duggan (Head of Ambulatory Care - B.Braun) and Paul Mullaly (M.D. B.Braun Ireland).
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