Arrangements are being made for operations, cancelled as a result of a roof leak at Merlin Park Hospital, to instead be carried out in theatres at University Hospital Galway as an interim measure.
Earlier this month, leaks developed in the roof of a building at Merlin Park, which houses the hospital’s two orthopaedic operating theatres, leading to all surgery being cancelled at the facility. Some elective orthopaedic surgery, including hip replacements and spinal operations, will now be carried out in theatres at the UHG, using nursing staff from the Merlin Park facility. It is hoped this will reduce the backlog of patients awaiting surgery.
However, Galway West Fine Gael TD Hildegarde Naughton has warned against any "sticking-plaster solution" and reiterated her call for a "new acute hospital" at Merlin Park. “We need to facilitate the immediate continuation of elective orthopaedic surgery for the sake of those patients, many of whom are enduring pain and anxiety,” she said.
She also said the leaking roof was symptomatic of a broader problem. "Our healthcare infrastructure in Galway is crumbling," she said. "It is dated, overcrowded, and unfit for purpose". The TD has long called for a new acute hospital for Galway, saand said such a development can be the only "lasting and satisfactory outcome".
An options appraisal has now been commissioned in respect of a new facility. “This is about putting a long-term plan in place that will provide for the growing healthcare needs of this generation and future generations to come," Dep Naughton said. "There is no place for short-termism in this process."
Dep Naughton added that no new development or expansion can take place on the UHG site. Her call has been echoed by hospital management and 196 consultants, who recently wrote to the Minister for Health describing the ageing facility as “unsafe” and “unfit for purpose”.