The Galway Chamber has come out in support for a new hospital for the city to be located at Merlin Park, with chamber president Conor O’Dowd calling for a "new acute hospital" that will "meet the needs" of Galway and the West.
The decision was taken following the December board meeting of the council of Galway Chamber, and was based on issues such asavailability of land, future collocations, and access. Another major factor were the recent statements by the Saolta Hospital Group, and its clinical director, to the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare, stating a new hospital was required and, preferably, that it would be on the Merlin Park site.
Mr O’Dowd said Merlin Park is the "optimum site" as it is near the motorway and has good access to the regional network. He pointed out that it is the only level four hospital in the region to cater for the five Connacht counties and County Clare. "It must work for a population in excess of 830,000 people," he said.
He pointed out that the current UCHG site is built on approximately 42 acres, whereas the current Merlin Park site, owned by the HSE, has a campus of approximately 145 acres. He also said any new beds proposed for the current hospital "must come with extra car parking spaces".
"This relocation of a key municipal building would be to a part of Galway that is developing," said Mr O'Dowd. "It would ensure the proposed new hospital be ideally situated to collocate with life sciences and research centres in the future."