2nd October 2017
Press Statement by Hildegarde Naughton TD
Fine Gael, Galway West and South Mayo
The Minister for Health has agreed to meet with consultants from Merlin Park Hospital regarding the need for investment after roof leaks closed two operating theatres last week.
The meeting has been arranged by local Fine Gael TD Hildegarde Naughton, who has been working closely with consultants and health service management in relation to proposals for a new hospital in Galway.
She sought a meeting with Health Minister Simon Harris for orthopaedic consultants attached to Merlin Park Hospital, who will be outlining the impact of the current impasse and discussing possible solutions.
“This has resulted in the suspension of all elective orthopaedic surgery in Galway, which has the potential to gravely impact on thousands of patients currently on waiting lists for such procedures,” said Deputy Naughton
“It is a situation that has arisen as a result of historical underinvestment in hospital infrastructure, and the cracks are now literally starting to appear in our ageing healthcare facilities.
“We are very lucky to have probably the best orthopaedic department in the country, staffed by a world-class team of clinicians and nurses. But they have been housed in a building that dates from the 1950s, and that is a situation that is common throughout our local hospitals,” she said.
Interim arrangements are being made for some elective surgery to be carried out using operating theatres at University Hospital Galway (UHG) using specialist nursing staff from Merlin Park.
However, Deputy Naughton has warned against a stopgap solution to the problem at Merlin Park, and reiterated her call for the development of a new acute hospital on the grounds of Merlin Park.
“We need to stop firefighting and addressing recurrent problems with sticking-plaster solutions. We have a responsibility to plan for the long-term and ensure that adequate healthcare infrastructure is in place to meet the needs of both this and future generations in Galway,” she added.
“This isn’t about repairing a roof – it’s about fixing the local health service. Patient safety will continue to be compromised by situations like this unless the present facilities are replaced with a new hospital that is fit for purpose.”
The Galway West TD, who is a member of the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare, said that she hoped the Merlin Park consultants would outline the gravity of the situation to Minister Harris when they meet in Dublin.
“I am grateful to Simon Harris for agreeing to meet with the consultants. I believe it will be valuable for him to avail of the insight provided by those at the coalface in relation to the seriousness of the current situation, and also the broader need for investment in local healthcare facilities,” she said.