That’s according to consultant respiratory physician Prof Barry Plant, who was speaking at the official opening of ward 5B, CUH’s new 20-bed adult CF and respiratory ward, paid for by CF charity Build4Life at a cost of €2.3m, the largest single philanthropic donation ever made to the hospital.
Prof Plant said it was a “great day for CUH” and the “realisation of a dream” for patients and families affected by CF in the Munster area.
“It’s been a long road to get here today and you all know why these facilities needed to be developed — to allow our friends and family with CF enter the hospital environment without fear of cross infection,” said Prof Plant.
The man who spearheaded the fundraising for ward 5B, Build4Life founder Joe Browne, said the need to reduce the risk of cross infection was paramount, contributing to better healthcare and greater life expectancy.
Mr Browne — whose dedication to the cause was inspired by the death of a friend from CF and the fact that his own son, Pádraig, has the disease — was thanked by CUH chief executive Tony McNamara who said it was “a great day for the CF community”.
Carol-Anne O’Reilly, from Belgooly, Co Cork, and Biddy O’Dwyer, from South Tipperary, both of whose sons have CF, said they were “greatly relieved” with the opening of the new unit.
“My 12-year-old attends CUH children’s unit and thankfully, he’s done very well up to now. But our big thing with Build4Life was to try and get this new adult unit in place so that when he needs to come here, I won’t be afraid to bring him in,” said Carol-Anne.
“The big fear is if you take them into the hospital with one thing, they leave with five other things. But at least with this new unit, it looks like a hospital, it’s clean it’s bright, it’s spotless.”
Biddy, whose 15-year-old son will transition to the adult CF service at CUH next year, said: “You don’t want to bring them in, you’re afraid to go, you keep them at home, trying this and that to get them better. It’s just a great relief to know that when he moves up to the adult service next year, we have this.”
Junior health minister Kathleen Lynch said the ward is “a great boost for CF patients and their families in Munster” with great credit due to Joe Browne.
Ireland has the highest rate of CF in the world and Cork has the most CF per capita, Prof Plant said.