€72m local hospital expansion plan to become a reality in short term, confirms Frank Fahey

A €72 million expansion plan for University and Merlin Park Hospitals will transform both facilities, improving capacity, updating theatres and easing the pressure on UHG’s emergency department.

Fianna Fail TD Frank Fahey, who has been involved in “intense” negotiations on this major project with the HSE and Departments of Health and Finance for the past two years, says he hopes to see it become a reality in the “very short term”.

“A total of €52 million is to be spent on UHG and will involve an eight-storey building being built on the grounds of the hospital on Newcastle Road. It will consist of new ward accommodations to replace floors one and two of the existing hospital, which need to be completely refurbished. It will also cater for a new cancer care facility as well as a new day care facility.

“€20 million will be spent on Merlin Park Hospital and will include a new day care hospital, new theatres and a new diagnostics unit. This will enable Merlin Park to deal with pre-planned and day work and therefore free up A&E at UHG, thus allowing it to focus on major medical care procedures. It will also bring to an end the current practice of both hospitals being in an ‘on-take’ status, a practice that is both inefficient and ineffective. Instead all elective and day care procedures will be handled by Merlin Park while all admissions will be handled by UHG.”

Deputy Fahey says these projects have been two years “in the making” and he hopes to see them become a reality soon.

The major development project will be completed as part of a public/private partnership. However, on completion it will be handed back to the HSE.

“Intense negotiations on this project have been ongoing for the past two years between myself, the HSE, the Department of Health and the Department of Finance. I have pursued the matter urging that this project be advanced as a single PPP project instead of on a conventional funding basis.”

A spokesman for An Taoiseach explains a result of this new approach, the HSE has begun work on the necessary cost benefit analysis of the project.

“ The HSE expect this analysis to be completed by April and, assuming that the project is then confirmed for development as a PPP, the HSE will move to appoint the National Development Finance Agency as technical advisors to the project which will mark a pivotal point in its delivery.”

Deputy Fahey says this important step forward in delivering two major hospital developments is very positive news for Galway.

“The projects are very significant and will further transform the physical infrastructure of the hospitals allowing for improved capacity and updated theatres as well as superior patient treatment and comfort. I am delighted to see serious progress made on these developments and I believe it demonstrates our long-term commitment to the acute hospital service here in Galway. These important projects are now on the way to being delivered as part of a single PPP and it will ensure that both UHG and Merlin Park Hospitals move to the next level in terms of effective and excellent patient care.”


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