Lack of funding leads to delay in Phase 2B at Mullingar hospital

The second stage of Phase 2B works at Mullingar hospital have been deferred due to lack of funding.

The HSE confirmed yesterday that “further progress on the development has been deferred due to funding constraints”.

However, they insist that stage 2 is included in the HSE’s capital plan and that the “master plan” for the development works has been completed.

Some €57 million was ring-fenced for the development more than 10 years ago.

Stage 2 was to include the building of a new acute psychiatric department or unit; additional beds; a separate coronary care unit; a separate ICU; a new medicine for the elderly/ rehabilitation unit; the replacement of the child and adolescent psychiatric unit, theatres, pathology department,and occupational therapy unit; and extended catering facilities.

Deputy James Bannon said he was “extremely disappointed” at the delay in progress on the works, which he learned of through a reply he received to a parliamentary question this week.

He said that 14 years of promises had failed to see delivery of health services for the Midlands.

“I have been informed once again by the HSE that funding constraints are halting further progress on the hospital.This is despite the fact that €57 million was ring-fenced for Mullingar Hospital 14 years ago.

“With Phase 2B being split into two stages, the first of which commenced in 2006 and was completed in 2009, the most that can be said for Stage 2 is that it is included in the HSE’s Capital Plan,” he said.

“This bungling and procrastination by the previous government in relation to health services in the Midlands is morally wrong.

“While the work under Phase 2B Stage 1 saw €27 million capital expenditure, it is unbelievable that it has been considered justified, even during the boom years, to deprive the Midlands of urgently needed health facilities.

“What price the health of Longford/Westmeath? It seems that it has certainly not been much over a 14-year span,” he added.

The development of Phase 2B for the Midland Regional Hospital Mullingar was split into two stages several years ago. Stage 1 commenced in October 2006 and was completed during 2009 at a capital cost of €27 million.

The completed Stage 1 of Phase 2B included the fit-out of the hospital to include a new paediatric ward on Level 0, new surgical ward on Level 1, new obstetric ward on Level 2, and new medical ward, incorporating an acute stroke unit on Level 3.

It also included the refurbishment of the existing paediatric and obstetric wards to provide a 24-bed day ward on Level 1 and a medical ward and palliative care unit on Level 3; and the extension of the exisiting facilities at Level 0 to accommodate an interim special care baby unit adjacent to the new paediatric ward.

The proposed infrastructure, road, and carpark network were also substantially completed under Stage 1, and existing wards (ie a medical/ surgical ward on Level 0 and a delivery/ gynaecology ward on Level 2 ) in the red brick building were also refurbished.

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