A refurbished orthopaedic operating theatre in Merlin Park reopened yesterday to deal with patients on waiting lists in Galway and the western region, and contracts have been signed for the provision of two modular operating theatres, set to open in October.
The developments have been confirmed by the Saolta Hospital Group, and have been described by Fine Gael Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughton as "very welcome news". The theatres closed in October 2017 following roof leaks, which resulted in an increase on the waiting lists for orthopaedic procedures. Some estimates claim some 1,500 patients were awaiting operations over the last number of months.
The opening of the refurbished orthopaedic theatre means up to 25 operations can now take place each week, according to Dep Naughton. UHG will also continue to provide operating space where possible. "From a situation where practically no procedures were taking place, this is a vast improvement," she said. The TD has also spoken to the surgeons "who will avail of the newly refurbished theatre" and who are "very keen to make maximum use of the theatre space to reduce waiting lists as quickly as possible".
Dep Naughton pointed out that the current situation should only be seen as "a stop gap measure" until the new elective hospital, which she has secured for Merlin Park, is built. Dep Naughton is in discussions with the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, to ensure this happens "as soon as possible". She said: "The people of Galway and the west deserve the dignity and safety of modern hospital facilities."