A 17 bed interim emergency ward for University Hospital Galway’s Emergency Department has been opened, with a further 18 beds on schedule to open within the next six to eight weeks.
The beds, located within areas previously occupied by social care and physiotherapy services, represent a €2.2 million investment in UHG’s Emergency Department with the final €700,000 being spent this year.
The development has been welcomed by Fine Gael Galway West Seán Kyne, who said the new beds will help "improve the situation at one of the country’s busiest emergency departments".
However, with recent Department of Health figures showing that UHG had 1,325 outpatients waiting more than 18 months for an appointment, the longest waiting time in the State, while 654 waited on trolleys in the ED in 2015, the second largest number in the Republic after Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda, Dep Kyne acknowledged it is "universally accepted that overall the current department needs to be replaced".
Health Minister Leo Varadkar has said the design of the new UHG Emergency Department will take place this year. Also, under the HSE Service Plan for 2016, there is €10 million in funding this year for a new 75 bed clinical ward block. The design of the new block is based on individual rooms, which is now the internationally recommended standard for hospital accommodation.