independent

Thursday 19 October 2017

New hospital unit funded from bequest left by kind benfactor

By Maria Pepper

A new early pregnancy assessment unit, which has just been built at Wexford General Hospital at a cost of over €1 million from the generous bequest of a local businessman, is due to open soon.

The impressive Herbert Amon Unit is named after the Austrian-born owner of the former Wool Shop at 39 South Main Street in Wexford, who left over €1.5 million in his will to be used for improved hospital services for children. His entire estate was given to the Friends of Wexford General Hospital, who honoured his last wishes.

A total of €242,514 was spent at the beginning of last year on the refurbishment of St Gabriel's paediatric ward in the hospital including the purchase of new equipment to improve the care and comfort of young patients

Work began on the new ante-natal unit last November with Mythen Construction as the main contractors and was finished on schedule about a month ago at a cost of €1.1 million, the full amount having being met from Mr Amon's will.

The unit is fully-equipped and furnished and ready for the transfer of existing early pregnancy services located in separate areas of the hospital.

Hospital general manager Lily Byrnes described it as a 'purpose-built unit of the highest standard' and said it is due to become operational shortly. It will be used by an estimated 4,000 pregnant women each year.

Ms Byrnes said it is a badly needed addition to the footprint of the hospital and will provide services which promote women's health during and after pregnancy to ensure optimum outcomes for the newborn and mother.

The modern purpose-built facility will house the hospital's entire early pregnancy service in one department with the aim of improving the care, dignity and privacy of mothers-to-be.

The hospital is in the process of transfering all existing ante-natal services into the new wing with a plan to increase staffing levels in the unit in the future, subject to more resources becoming available, according to Ms Byrnes.

These services include an early pregnancy assessment unit, a foetal assessment unit, a urodynamics department, clinical nurse specialists in diabetes and gestational diabetes, integrated hospital/community maternity services and urogynaecology physiotherapy service.

Ms Byrnes said the hospital is 'extremely grateful' to the late Mr Amon, to his family and the Friends of Wexford General Hospital for the bequest which made the unit possible.

A quiet, unassuming man, Mr Amon was unmarried and had no offspring. He left a will requesting that his entire estate, including the proceeds of the sale of his shop, be used for the benefit of children.

A son of the late Frans and Maria Amon, he came to Wexford with his family from Austria via Canada in the 1950s. His mother opened the Wool Shop in 1959 and he took it over some years later. The property was placed on the market in 2007 when its owner became ill. Herbie, as he was known, sadly passed away in St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin in 2009 and is buried in Crosstown Cemetery.

The completion of the Herbert Amon Unit was welcomed by Ciaran Sheridan, chairman of the Friends of Wexford General Hospital, who said: 'Herbert was very clear on how he wanted this money used and it was our duty to see that his wishes were honoured.'

Mr Sheridan said he looked forward to seeing the new unit in operation. An official opening and naming ceremony is due to take place in the near future.

Wexford People

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