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Clinical Support Services



A daily Physiotherapy out-patient clinic takes place in the ED:

Monday – Friday 9am - 1pm

Referral to the physiotherapy service is via doctors working within the ED. The aim is to see patients for physiotherapy assessment within 72 hours of initial presentation to the ED. 

Patients with musculoskeletal conditions (muscle and joint injuries) are assessed by a Senior Physiotherapist. Commonly seen conditions include knee, ankle, shoulder, neck and back injuries. The physiotherapist provides assessment and advice, and follow-up treatment and rehabilitation if necessary.


Social Work

The Role of the Medical Social Worker in the Emergency Department

The Medical Social Worker in the Emergency Department provides a service to help you and your family cope with the social and emotional aspects linked to your admission to the Emergency Department.  This involves working with people who may experience any of the following:


Crisis or trauma

Bereavement and adjustment to loss

Breach of safety


What Service Does The Medical Social Worker Provide

Following a meeting with you and/or your family and an assessment being completed, the following services may be offered:

  • Supportive Counselling
  • bereavement and loss counselling
  • port trauma counselling
  • crisis intervention
  • stress management
  • direct therapeutic work with children
  • mediation

The aim of supportive counselling is to help you explore choices for your future and enable you to discover your own personal strengths and power, which will encourage you to achieve these choices.


Advocacy and Information

This involves the Medical Social Worker, working on your behalf, within or outside of the hospital to ensure your views are considered.

At times, it may be deemed appropriate for you to be referred to another service who can better meet your needs. These can include:


Support Groups

Voluntary Organizations

Community Services


Other HSE services

Information on other services will be provided if required.


Risk Assessment

Medical Social Workers are responsible for protecting both younger and older patients who present to the emergency department. If a person is identified to be at risk, immediate attention will be given to this situation.


How Can I Be Referred To The Medical Social Worker In The Emergency Department?

All patients who present to the Emergency Department can be referred to the Medical Social Worker. A member of nursing or medical staff may recommend that you avail of the Medical Social Work service while you are in the Emergency Department. You may ask any member of hospital staff to contact the Medical Social Worker on your behalf. You may make direct contact with the Emergency Department Social Worker by calling to the Medical Social Work Department or by telephoning the department.


Where Is The Medical Social Work Department

The Medical Social Work Department is located on the main concourse of the hospital (just before the shop). 

Opening Hours & Contact Details

Monday –Friday 9:00am - 1pm, 2:00pm - 5pm

Telephone: +353 (0)21 4922488

Fax: +353 (0)21 4922867


Occupational Therapy

The ED department does not have its own Occupational Therapy service on site at present. It uses the hospital Occupational Therapy service when required. A proposal has been submitted to address this deficiency in service which will if accepted provide a dedicated Occupational Therapist in the ED on a part time basis. 

The proposal that has been put together by the Occupational Therapy Department will obviously enhance the services provided by the Emergency Department. It provides for a pilot project that will last for six months after which it is hoped to gather sufficient evidence that it is a viable option to provide dedicated Occupational Therapy Services in the Emergency department. 

Literature would suggest that patients have a wide variety of problems after discharge which include limited ability to carry out personal activities of daily living, housekeeping, decreased mobility, difficulty following prescriptions and difficulty using appliances (Mamon et al 1992, Tierney at al 1998) 

Occupational Therapy has been proven to generate efficiencies in the health service by supporting early discharges and improving throughput, preventing re-admission, and in some cases preventing admission to hospital (Brandis, 1998).



If you need to be x-rayed there is a dedicated X-Ray Department within the Emergency Department. This x-ray suite has two examination rooms equipped with the latest digital and computed radiography systems as well as an OPG machine for taking specialised panoramic x-rays of the jaw. Digital imaging gives superb detail and instant images that are seen on the radiographer’s computer screen within a second of the exposure. These images can be stored permanently in the system and viewed by all the relevant doctors, radiographers and other healthcare professionals who will be caring for you during your visit to the ED and afterwards, if you need to come back.  Requests for x-rays are made electronically thus eliminating the paper requests of previous years. The Image Networking System, introduced in 2008, is known as PACS (Picture Archiving Communication System).

The department due to the new technologies, is now film-less and without chemical processing and has become much more environmentally friendly. Operating this state-of-the-art technology is a team of Specialised Diagnostic Radiographers. These radiographers have a professional degree in Diagnostic Imaging and post graduate qualifications in trauma radiography and interpretation of trauma images, up to Masters Degree level.

Trauma Radiographers operate a system of red-dotting whereby they highlight abnormal appearances, but they do not give official reports. The official reports are always done by a Radiologist, a doctor whose speciality is the interpretation of medical diagnostic images.



If you think you might be pregnant, you must tell the radiographer before you are x-rayed. Being pregnant does not exclude the possibility of being x-rayed, if the x-ray is so necessary that the benefit outweighs the slight risk involved. Every time an x-ray is ordered and taken, the benefit will always outweigh the risk. However, unnecessary x-rays will not be taken and other forms of imaging that do not use radiation, such as Ultrasound or MRI scans may be used instead. In certain circumstances we may do a pregnancy test and wait for the result before doing the x-ray. 

All radiographers apply certain principles that ensure the safe use of necessary medical diagnostic radiation, known as the ALARA principle (keeping the dose As Low As Reasonably Achievable). If you have any questions about your x-ray, the radiographers can answer them. For further information about x-rays from the Irish Medical Council website please click here. 

This is a 24 hour imaging service, provided every day of the year. It extends to the main x-ray department where CT,Ultrasound and Nuclear Medicine bone scans are carried out.  A radiographer is always available for urgent x-rays.



The Radiology aspect of service provides for the reading of X-Rays and a new fully film-less system has been put in place.

PACS (Picture Archive Communication System)

The PACS (Picture Archive Communication System) is operational since June 2008 which includes a new Radiology Information System (RIS) and a Voice Recognition System (VR). These systems allow for a fully film-less environment and provide referring physicians with direct access to images and reports. Electronic Requesting/Ordering of x-ray commenced in the ED in November 2009 and will be extended to the rest of the hospital as soon as possible.

Enquiries regarding requests for the importation or exportation of radiology images, from outside the Cork University Hospital Group, should be made via telephone to the digitisation office on +353 (0)21 4920294.



There is a dedicated Plaster Room in the Emergency Department, and we share the Plaster service with our colleagues in Orthopaedics. There are proposals to enhance this important service.  



There is an Acute Psychiatric Unit on site at Cork University Hospital adjacent the Emergency Department and the ED use the services provided by the unit whenever they are required. We have a room available in the Emergency Department to interview and assess patients presenting with psychiatric illness. Over the past number of years, staff in the Emergency Department have joined with our colleagues in the Psychiatric unit to provide Brief interventions for patients presenting with alcohol related problems. This originated from the setting up of the Alcohol Implementation Group (AIG) by the HSE to progress the relevant recommendations from the Strategic Task Force Report on Alcohol. 

A Training DVD supported by posters and alcohol leaflets was launched in June 2008 to provide support for these brief interventions. More recently a screening tool is being trialed in the departments Clinical Decision Unit.