The Saolta University Healthcare Group has requested funding of €1 million to advance plans for the development of a new hospital at Merlin Park in its budgetary submission to the Department of Health.
The group is seeking the €1 million for “initial planning” of a new hospital. Saolta is currently carrying out an options appraisal in respect of the proposed development, which was given the go-ahead by Health Minister Simon Harris earlier this year.
Fine Gael Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughton, who has led the campaign for a new hospital since her election to the Dáil last year, welcomed the development. “Just 18 months ago, there was no mention of a new hospital and the focus was on sticking-plaster solutions at UHG,” she said. “The application is confirmation a new hospital for Galway is now realistically in prospect.”
The Galway West TD, who was a member of the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare, said she would be communicating her support for Saolta’s application to Minister Simon Harris.
Last month, it was reported that 196 consultants attached to UHG had written to the Health Minister seeking his support for a new hospital, describing current facilities as unsafe and unfit for purpose.
“It is now beyond contest that UHG can no longer meet the present or future healthcare needs of our growing and ageing population,” said Dep Naughton. “The current crisis will persist and worsen until decisive and long-lasting action is taken.”