Local Fine Gael Senator, Aisling Dolan, has welcomed confirmation of a €9.3 million investment in Portiuncula University Hospital.
“This is welcome government investment of €9.3 million in Portiuncula University Hospital, a level three 24/7 acute and maternity hospital under the HSE Capital Plan. It is much-needed funding to ensure that we have capacity and single bed space to manage infection control, to give dignity and privacy to patients and their families.
“We have excellent healthcare teams however working in a hospital dating from the 1940s with multi-bed wards. During the pandemic, we had heroes working and doing their utmost on the frontline, but in such challenging environment for patients and staff. This funding delivers a hospital for the future for Ballinasloe and the Midlands region.
“We can see the work that has been taking place for the 50 bed ward block with enabling works now completed. A sum totalling €4.2 million is already committed to the next stage of building construction and the space will shortly be closed off to start these works.
“With only 13 existing single bed spaces, the hospital team also successfully proposed creating new single bed spaces in the existing outpatients area. In total, €2.5 million of funding will create eight single en-suite rooms and additional two bed rooms along with €200,000 for the conversion of the space and this project has gone to tender.
“ A CT scanner is also overdue and €2 million has been allocated to this project. Construction of the necessary space to house this equipment will be completed by September 2022 in the under-croft of the hospital (under the ICU and theatres, filling the existing ground level space to the left of the hospital ). A new scanner has also been purchased through the Equipment Fund. Furthermore, €300,000 has been allocated for the next stage of fire safety works in the hospital and €70,000 for lift replacements.
“Portiuncula University Hospital also needs a replacement pharmacy and a review of existing Emergency Department (ED ) space and I will work with the Minister for Health to highlight this particular need here.
“We are also aware that there is a shortage of nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists and I would like to encourage individuals to consider a career in healthcare or returning to the workforce. Do talk to nurses and staff in Portiuncula University Hospital if you have an interest in the area and we also have a new pre-nursing Level 5 course now available at the Ballinasloe College of Further Education.
“Portiuncula is a teaching hospital linked with NUI Galway and UL medical academies. With a catchment area of over 400,000 in East Galway and the wider Midlands region, it is also the main hospital for Athlone and people can be proud to know that our hospital has won Sláintecare funding in cardiac services and works with Primary Care Centres to roll out this project.”
“This announcement will certainly enhance the health infrastructure across the Midlands region. The commitment to 50 beds in Portiuncula University Hospital dates back to a meeting I secured with then Minister of Health, Deputy Simon Harris, and the hospital team in 2018.
“This funding is vital to ensuring safer and healthier outcomes for our loved ones in Portiuncula. I wish to acknowledge the work of James Keane, General Manager, and the new Director of Nursing, Mary Mahon, as well as former staff, and the clinical management team with close to 900 people working across healthcare in our hospital,” Senator Dolan asserted.