Wednesday, 13th November 2019
Press Statement by Hildegarde Naughton TD
Fine Gael, Galway West and South Mayo
An independent options appraisal has recommended the development of a new 200-bed elective hospital at Merlin Park, clearing the way for preparatory works to commence on the project next year.
Fine Gael TD for Galway West Hildegarde Naughton, who has led the campaign for a new hospital in Galway, said that the facility will be the largest investment in the region’s healthcare infrastructure since UHG opened in 1956.
Public representatives will be briefed on the findings of the options appraisal by hospital management in Dublin next week, at a meeting organised by Deputy Naughton.
The options appraisal was a full review of hospital services in the region and involved a comprehensive study of present and future needs.
The appraisal was conducted by independent consultants, who were tasked with planning for the future of the region’s healthcare services. It was sanctioned by Health Minister Simon Harris, after a request by Deputy Naughton, as an integral step towards the development of a new hospital.
The appraisal has recommended Merlin Park as the location of the new facility, and the Saolta University Healthcare Group has accepted this recommendation.
The development of a new hospital at Merlin Park has been a keystone priority of Deputy Naughton’s since her election to the Dáil in 2016. She has since garnered the support of clinicians and hospital management for the proposal.
“I’m extremely pleased that the Saolta Group has agreed that Merlin Park is the optimal site for a new hospital for Galway and the West. It has been clear to me for some time that the UHG site was no longer capable of meaningful expansion,” she said.
“I ensured that a new elective hospital for Galway was included the Government’s capital plan and all that remained was for the site to be identified,” explained Deputy Naughton, who was a member of the Oireachtas Committee for the Future of Healthcare.
“This has now been done and the plan will now go to the Sláintecare Implementation Group in order for them to progress the project. Money has been provided in the HSE Capital Plan next year to begin preparatory works.”
It is understood that the options appraisal recommends the inclusion of 75 elective hospital beds, as well as 125 day-case beds, and 11 operating theatres. It also includes 8 scope rooms and 71 outpatient rooms.
“This will be the biggest investment in the healthcare needs of the people of Connacht-Ulster since UHG was built. The focus at this new hospital will be on low- and medium-complex care, with trauma and complex care continuing to be treated in UHG.
“This means that not only will more patients be treated in a state-of-the-art facility in Merlin Park but it will free up huge space in UHG,” she explained.
The new facility will cater for non-complex short stay (less than four days) elective surgery, and also for longer stay surgery in areas such as hip and knee replacement, minor bladder procedures, and non-cancer prostate surgery.
“While I am pleased with progress to date, I am totally committed to seeing this hospital built. I have had huge support from clinicians in the Saolta Group since I started this campaign and I am pleased to say that Saolta management have also engaged very positively. The people of the west of Ireland deserve this new facility and I will ensure that it is delivered.”