A new hospital for Galway is "absolutely necessary" and the acknowledgement by the clinical director of UCHG, and the Saolta Group, that a new hospital is required should be taken as a cue to ensure it becomes a reality.
This is the view of Independent Galway West TD Catherine Connolly who has long campaigned for a new hospital for the city. She said the new Briefing for Public Representatives report, issued recently, shows "sense has prevailed" with both the clinical director and the manager of UCHG acknowledging that planning should immediately begin for a new hospital.
They further confirmed that on the risk register, compiled as part of the management’s statutory duty, the biggest risk cited was the "lack of capacity". Dep Connolly also said that both acknowledged how "all planned construction works are simply fire fighting and crisis driven".
Dep Connolly said the hospital's new wings and buildings were constructed "on an already congested site" and "in an ad hoc manner" in response to "each crisis arising". She cited how the helicopter pad had to be temporarily moved into the Shantalla Community Park at a cost of approximately €250,000 to facilitate the construction of a temporary car park.
She said the planning permission given for a 50 bedded mental health unit "should have been constructed in Merlin Park", and that a 50 bedded replacement ward, along with a new 75 bed ward block is also planned, results "in only 25 extra beds".
Dep Connolly said the "frank acknowledgement" of both the clinical director and manager is "absolutely necessary" and "refreshing", and should spur "Galway West TDs to work together and ensure a new hospital becomes a reality". Dep Connolly added that given how capacity "is the biggest risk", the Government "must now act" under health and safety.