Report will recommend elective hospital for Merlin Park within weeks, says Naughton

New hospital will allow all non-emergency procedures to be performed at Merlin Park, freeing up large numbers of beds at UHG

An independent report on the need for a new elective hospital in Galway will be completed and provided to the Minister for Health by the end of next month, it emerged this week.

The report, which was commissioned by the Saolta University Health Care Group, is expected to recommend the construction of a new 200-bed hospital on the grounds of Merlin Park.

Hospital management and consultant doctors met with Minister Simon Harris and Fine Gael TD for Galway West Hildegarde Naughton this week to discuss the project and the urgent need for additional bed capacity in Galway. Mr Harris was told that an independent report outlining the region’s current and future healthcare needs will be on his desk by the end of next month, according to Deputy Naughton.

“The development of a new elective hospital in Galway has been included in the Government’s capital spending plan, and work has progressed on plans in parallel with the forthcoming report,” said the Fine Gael TD and member of the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare. “Galway has the longest waiting lists for procedures in the country, and it is clear that these cannot be addressed without the construction of a new facility to substantially increase hospital bed capacity,” explained Dep Naughton.

A new elective hospital will allow all non-emergency procedures to be performed at Merlin Park, thereby freeing up large numbers of beds at University Hospital Galway (UHG ) for specialised, acute activity. The independent report will outline the demand for hospital services based on the region’s current and future population. It will also make recommendations regarding the size, location, and specifications of the proposed new facility.

It emerged in January that the authors of the report would recommend the development of a new facility at Merlin Park on the basis that bed capacity cannot be sufficiently increased at the UHG campus.

Dep Naughton has led the campaign for a new hospital in Galway since before her election to Dáil Éireann in 2016. She will meet Taoiseach Leo Varadkar this week to discuss the project.

“I’m pleased with progress on the issue, but there is no question of treading water or waiting for after the publication of the report. I won’t rest until the building goes up and the waiting lists go down,” she said. “I am meeting with An Taoiseach this week to brief him on the progress, and to consolidate his support for the project. We need to constantly be ready to move on the next stage as soon as the light turns green."

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