Cork University Hospital (CUH) and the South/South West Hospital Group have today officially opened the Galtee Suite. The opening was officiated by Lord Mayor of Cork, Councillor John Sheehan.
The Galtee Suite will be staffed by a multidisciplinary team including nursing, pharmacy and consultant specialities and is part of the ongoing expansion of the department.
The new clinic contains areas for clinical assessment and counselling/education and will allow staff in CUH to provide the necessary care to patients outside of clinic times. The HIV clinic in CUH has been in operation for over 20 years and currently provides care for approximately 700 people living with HIV (PLHIV).
Welcoming the new HIV suite, Gerry O’Dwyer, Chief Executive Officer of the South/South West Hospital Group said: “The investment by the South/South West Hospital Group in the new Galtee Suite HIV facility at CUH is part of the group’s ongoing efforts to meet the needs of patients. Resources allowing, it is the group’s desire to introduce similar patient-centred facilities in other areas of clinical care in order to adequately meet the needs of the community.”
Dr Gerard O’Callaghan, Interim CEO at Cork University Hospital said: “I welcome the opening of the new treatment facility in the HIV Clinic in CUH that will provide treatment for patients with complex medical and social needs”.
Dr Arthur Jackson, Infectious Diseases and General Medicine Specialist at Cork University Hospital said: “The hospital is pleased to open the Galtee Suite. A major thrust of this suite will be counselling/education of patients. Our aim is to achieve viral control with medication and focus on improving the quality of life of patients living with HIV through broad support, counselling and education for those who need it, and helping reduce stigma around HIV.”
Today’s opening coincides with World AIDS Day and the hospital is also hoping to educate patients and the public about “undetectable = untransmittable” (U=U). This relates to the recent studies that prove that HIV cannot be transmitted when people are responding to antiviral treatment, and therefore patients need not worry about infecting loved ones.
Dr Arthur Jackson continued: “We want our patients to know that their life expectancy is very similar to patients who are not infected with the virus. To get these important messages across we need to have flexible access to physical space to see our patients.”
The hospital will shortly be launching a new service from the Galtee Suite to help prevent HIV acquisition for HIV Negative people identifying as at high risk. Announced by An Taoiseach, this service is part of the hospital’s upcoming PrEP clinic and is supported by HSE funding.
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