Despite more than 6,000 patients now waiting for orthopaedic procedures at Merlin Park Hospital in Galway, planning permission has not yet been sought for the long promised modular theatres that are to be put in place on the hospital grounds.
The contract for the modular construction has not yet been signed off on. This was confirmed yesterday by Ann Cosgrove the Chief Operating Officer of the Saolta University Health Care Group at the HSE West Forum meeting in Merlin Park.
This is a very long running saga that has consistently been raised by two Galway councillors on the HSE West West Forum: Headford based FF cllr Mary Hoade, and Galway city based FG cllr Padraig Conneelly. Again yesterday, both had submitted questions on it progress.
In Sept of 2017, two theatres at Merlin Park hospital were forced to close as the roof of the building was leaking, eventually the roof was repaired and one of the two theatres again became operational.
The theatres deal with orthopaediac procedures,hips and knees ,and with both theatres closed for some months, and then only one in operation the waiting list for procedures has now risen to more than 6,000 between inpatients and outpatients.
The solution that was proposed and approved by the HSE was to construct a modular / temporary building on the grounds of the hospital that would house two theatres. It was to be a quick solution to an urgent need. But for a variety of reasons it has taken more than a year and the contract for the modular build has still not been signed and so planning permission for the construction hasn’t yet been sought and despite promises last Summer that the new theatres would be up and running early in 2019 – that timeline is now not possible.
Cllrs were told yesterday, however, that the contract is now close to being signed and that when in the modular build is in place it will house two theatres and the single theatre now operating at Merlin park will also continue to be used – providing three theatres at the hospital, the only issue might be to staff all three theatres.
Cllr Hoade and Conneely both expressed their disappointment on progress to date to Midwest News.