Seán Kyne, Fine Gael senator in Galway has welcomed confirmation that construction has started on the new €62 million radiation oncology at UHG following disruption caused by Covid-19.
He raised the progress of the radiation oncology centre and the status of the Emergency Department with Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, at Wednesday’s meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health of which Senator Kyne is a member.
Construction of the new three-storey radiation oncology centre at UHG was delayed due to Covid-19 but commenced in September with a construction time of 24 months. Today’s meeting was the first appearance of Minister Donnelly before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health which was established in September.
During the Committee meeting, Senator Kyne raised the experience of one cancer patient at UHG which Minister Donnelly termed as “just not satisfactory at all” and that “nobody should have to go through that.”
“I took the opportunity of Minister Donnelly’s first appearance before us as a committee to raise the specific issues of the Emergency Department at UHG and cancer services at UHG.
“As I told the Minister and the Committee members, we still do not have planning permission for the new Emergency Department, not a sod has been turned nor a block laid for this critical project. The delays are unacceptable and are detrimental to the experiences of both patients and staff.
The development of a new elective or acute hospital in Galway is separate to the ED and must be viewed as such given the indicative 20-year time frame for a new acute hospital.
“I welcome, however, Minister Donnelly’s acceptance of the importance of the ED and his commitment to provide an up-to-date timeline for the project,” he said.
“The progress of the Radiation Oncology Centre at UHG is very welcome. With two CT rooms, seven radiotherapy treatment vaults and other support and treatment services, the centre will benefit patients from across the West of Ireland.
“However, we also need to see progress on the upgrading of medical oncology facilities at UHG which involve chemotherapy and related treatments. In order to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients served by UHG cancer services we must ensure that medical oncology facilities are as up-to-date and effective as the cancer care that will be provided in the new radiation oncology centre,” he concluded.