The newly upgraded Oncology and Haematology inpatient ward in Sligo Regional Hospital was opened on Friday 29 November, by broadcaster and publisher Ms Norah Casey in the presence of staff, past patients, patients' families, and fundraisers. This was a huge occasion for both the Oncology/Haematology Department and Sligo Regional Hospital.
The new ward consists of 16 beds with a dedicated Family Room. The total upgrade cost of the unit came to €140,000. €25,000 of this was funded by SHOUT, the Sligo Hospital Oncology Unit Trust, which raised funds through charitable donations and fund-raising activities. A further €20,000 was funded by the McKiernan family (for the Family Room) in remembrance of patient Jerome McKiernan RIP who passed away in 2011. The remainder was funded by the HSE.
Dr Andy Hodgson (Consultant Haematologist and Chairperson of SHOUT) outlined the benefits of the development. "The opening of the ward has had a very positive impact for both patients and staff alike, particularly the Family Room, where family members can sit with their loved ones, have a meal together or simply spend time together as a family. We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge all the patients, families and members of the public who have fundraised for SHOUT and this new facility. We would also like to remember all the patients and families who are attending the service and hope that this day can be a day of celebration while still acknowledging the great loss and sadness that some patients and families may currently be experiencing."
A new Medical Short Stay Unit for the hospital was also delivered as part of the upgrade, which increased the inpatient bed complement and reduced the numbers of patients accommodated on trolleys in the hospital. Grainne McCann, Acting Hospital General Manager, recognised the benefits of this: "This is an exciting day for Sligo Regional Hospital. We are delighted to welcome Ms Norah Casey and appreciate her taking the time to join us. There is no doubt that the Haematology/Oncology Ward upgrade and the addition of a Short Stay Ward have considerably improved facilities for our patients. These developments however would not have been possible without the support of our staff, many of whom were relocated when this process began. This new unit will serve to consolidate and further develop the very positive work in Sligo within both the Haematology and Oncology Services ".
Entertainment was provided by the "Something to sing about Choir" which comprises cancer survivors and was a very welcome and fitting addition to the occasion. Members of the general public were invited to attend and 100 purple balloons were then released in recognition of all those who have had contact with both SHOUT and the Oncology/Haematology Unit.