Haemophilia centre at CUH opens 5 years after damning services report

HEALTH Minister Dr James Reilly will open a new haemophilia centre at Cork University Hospital today — five years after a study found that services at the hospital for people with bleeding disorders were “grossly inadequate”.

The audit, published in November 2006, found there was no dedicated space for care of patients at the centre that was in stark contrast to the excellent haemophilia facilities in Dublin.

The auditors, who returned to the hospital in 2008, found very little had changed and that conditions at the centre were still below standard.

The auditors said the “cuckoo” model of haemophilia centre that had been practiced in Cork, where space was borrowed from other areas if it was free, was unacceptable and patients with haemophilia deserved better.

Overall, the quality of care at the centre was found to be satisfactory, but the audit stated that the infrastructure remained very poor and grossly inadequate.

Last year, Dr Susan O’Shea was appointed to lead the haemophilia service at CUH that currently cares for 375 persons with bleeding disorders.

Dr O’Shea, with her colleagues, Dr Cleona Duggan and Dr Clodagh Ryan, will be responsible for providing the clinical service for the haemophilia population in the hospital’s catchment area.

Out-patient clinics have already commenced on a weekly basis allowing patients to receive a full review and optimum clinical management of their home treatment.

The centre is also used as a treatment centre during the day where patients with haemophilia can attend for treatment for acute episodes.

Chairman of the National Haemophilia Council, Prof John Bonnar, said the council was delighted that patients with bleeding disorders in the Cork region now had appropriate facilities and privacy for their continuing care.

He pointed out the development allowed the service to be enhanced with the provision of special clinics for genetic counselling, dental care, physiotherapy, counselling and education of all persons with bleeding disorders.

Prof Bonnar said the council had been working with the Health Service Executive, Department of Health and Cork University Hospital for the last five years to secure the new centre.

The council was established in 2004 in response to the recommendations of the Lindsay Report published in 2002 and its main objective is to advise the Minister for Heath and the HSE on all aspects of haemophilia care in Ireland.

About one in 5,000 people are born with haemophilia in Ireland and the Lindsay inquiry examined how and why people with a haemophilia received contaminated blood and blood products.

Over the last 25 years 104 people with haemophilia died from blood-borne viruses.

Chief executive of the Irish Haemophilia Society, Brian O’Mahony said the centre would transform the quality of care for people with bleeding disorders in Munster.

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