Funding for a new state-of-the-art elective hospital for Galway and the west based in Merlin Park is expected to be included in the Government’s Capital Plan, due to be announced in Dublin tomorrow.
The multi-million euro project, will if constructed, free up hundreds of beds in University Hospital Galway with a consequent positive knock-on effect on waiting times at the Emergency Dept. There is also speculation that funding for a new radiation and oncology unit for the west, and a new Emergency Department for UHG will be included in the radical plan.
Deputy Hildegarde Naughton, who has led the campaign for a new hospital, has welcomed the outcome of her discussions with Health Minister Simon Harris and has every hope that a new facility will be included in tomorrow’s plan.
“I am very happy to report that my campaign for investment in healthcare infrastructure in Galway is close to success. I am confident of a multi-million euro funding announcement on Friday that will see the building of a large elective hospital, with hundreds of beds, for Galway on the Merlin Park site,” she told the Galway Advertiser last night. “What that means in practical terms is that if you have a scheduled operation it will take place in Merlin Park and not the UHG Newcastle campus.
“This will also mean the freeing up of hundreds of beds in UHG and an elimination of waiting on trolleys for those needing emergency care. This will drastically reduce overcrowding and lead to better patient outcomes. It will also, over time, greatly reduce waiting lists for various specialities in Galway,” said Deputy Naughton.
She has also been informed that any announcement would in no way hinder the Options Appraisal currently underway by the Saolta Group. “It has long been my preferred option for a new acute hospital to be built in Merlin Park. That option is still alive and the design for the new elective hospital in Merlin will allow for that possibility. An announcement tomorrow of this nature will be another huge step towards relocating Galway’s main hospital to Merlin Park.
“This is a phase of a strategy that would eventually see the development of a new acute hospital in Merlin Park. It is part of a broader plan that will be further developed after the options-appraisal process,” Deputy Naughton noted. "The ultimate decision on the number of beds in this new hospital will be made by the Saolta Hospital Group. However, I am informed that it will require at least a several hundred bed hospital along with ancillary services. It is also envisaged that this new development will include the stand alone orthopaedic unit which was previously announced, together with day case and endoscopy facilities,” the Galway Deputy added.
Deputy Naughton is also hopeful that the plan will include the announcement of a new oncology and radiation facility in Galway together with the long awaited Emergency Department for UHG.
“If my hopes are borne out on Friday, this would amount to the multi-million investment in health infrastructure in the West that I have been calling for since my election. It would also mean that UHG will, in future, no longer be operating at crisis levels and that patients in Galway and the West will have the dignity they deserve. While nobody will deny that problems exist at present, at least we can hopefully look forward to a much better service,” concluded Deputy Naughton.