Merlin Park Hospital

  • The ‘no visiting’ restrictions remain in place at University Hospital Galway and Merlin Park Hospital in Galway.

    Hospital Management are again asking the public not to visit the hospitals other than end of life situations and other exceptional circumstances which must be agreed with the relevant ward manager

    The hospitals are also reminding parents of paediatric patients that only one parent can remain at any time in order to minimise the risk of infection among paediatric patients and staff.

    Also, patients who are attending appointments should attend on their own, with the exceptionof patients who need the support or assistance of a family member or a carer.

  • 1500 people across this region are currently waiting for orthopaedic surgery at Merlin Park Hospital in Galway.

    The figures were confirmed in a letter to Minister Simon Harris and copied to local deputies last week, from a consultant surgeon at the hospital. The letter set out clearly that 1500 people are waiting for complex joint replacements, spinal surgery, foot, ankle and shoulder surgery and that the waiting list continues to expand. 

    In September 2017, two theatres were forced to close at the hospital because of leaks in the ceiling. Between that time and now Independent Galway Deputy Catherine Connolly said she has lost count of the number of times she has raised the issue in the Dáil.

    She says that she has a file of responses confirming that modular theatres would be provided as a matter of urgency and in the intervening period alternative arrangements would be made for patients.

    In May 2018 Saolta confirmed that service had been restored on 21st March 2018 through the provision of one theatre at Merlin Park.

    The latest update from Saolta on 20th November, 2018, fourteen months later, was that the hospital had gone to tender for a modular theatre facility which would provide two replacement theatres and facilitate 20 sessions per week. That update also confirmed that the impact of the closures has been that one third fewer elective operating cases have taken place in the region.

    Deputy Connolly told Midwest News today that it is completely unacceptable that no progress appears to have been made in delivering modular theatres almost a year and a half after the initial closure.

  • The number of patients on hospital trolleys has increased by 50 since yesterday.

    According to the Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation, there are 563 patients on hospital trolleys across the country today - up from 513 yesterday.

    Limerick University Hospital is again the most overcrowded with 64 patients waiting for a bed, followed by Galway and Cork University Hospitals - both with 44 patients on trolleys.

    There are 33 patients waiting for a bed today at Sligo University Hospital and 7 at Mayo University Hospital.

    Meanwhile the number of patients taking up beds on a long-term basis at Galway University Hospital who no longer need that level of medical care needs to be tackled, according to a local Councillor.

    There are currently 37 patients at University Hospital Galway and Merlin Park Hospital who have been there for over two months - but only 14 of these are receiving active medical care.

    Galway-based Fianna Fail Councillor Donagh Killilea questioned HSE management on the issue of bed-blockers at yesterday's meeting of the HSE West Regional Forum.

    Councillor Killilea says the figure provided by the HSE include long-term care applicants waiting to move to other health facilities, as well as homeless people.

    He believes the HSE and Galway City Council can do more to find alternative accommodation for these patients, and free up beds for patients on trolleys.

  • It will be the end of this year, at the earliest, before modular operating theatres are put in place at Merlin Park Hospital in Galway to tackle the backlog of patients waiting for surgery.

    The existing orthopaedic theatre will then be closed, once the new modular theatres open.

    That's according to information provided at yesterday's meeting of the HSE West Regional Forum in Galway.

    The issue was raised again by Galway-based FG Councillor Padraig Conneely, who questioned the delay in providing the modular theatres - which were promised when two theatres at Merlin Park Hospital had to close over 18 months ago due to leaks in the roof.

    One theatre has since reopened, but two modular theatres - which were promised for orthopaedic procedures - have not yet been delivered on, after the project ran into some difficulties.

    Councillors were told at yesterday's meeting that, if planning permission is granted, the new modular theatres will be completed within 9 months.

    The planning application for the modular theatres was described as "a hames" by Councillor Conneely.

  • It could be 2019 before the promised new modular orthopaedic theatres for Merlin Park Hospital in Galway will be in place. The urgently required temporary structures have been stalled due to a delay by the HSE in appointing a contractor.

    The matter was raised by the Cathaoirleach of the HSE West Forum, Headford based councillor Mary Hoade at the May meeting of the Forum.

    Councillor Hoade said that the additional theatre space was promised to be in place by October of this year, but with no contractor yet appointed and no planning permission sought for the development, its delivery within the promised time frame is unlikely.

    HSE Management confirmed that there has been a delay in appointing a contractor and as a result the October delivery date is unlikely.

    The modular theatres were proposed last September, when two orthopaedic theatres at Merlin Park were forced to closed due to structural problems. One of the two has reopened since.

    However, the waiting list for hip and knee surgeries across counties Galway, Roscommon and Mayo is increasing, with intense pressure on the one working theatre at present.

  • The modular orthopaedic theatres promised for Merlin Park Hospital in Galway will be further delayed by several months, according to the HSE.

    The modular theatres were proposed to deal with the backlog of orthopaedic procedures, following the closure of two surgical theatres at the hospital in 2017 due to leaking roofs.

    However, 18 months later, the temporary theatres have not been provided, and HSE management confirmed this week that they have failed to reach agreement on the terms of the contract, and have terminated their letter of intent with the provider.

    This is a further setback for the modular theatres,  according to Galway City Councillor Padraig Conneely, who had asked HSE management for an update on the current status on the proposed modular theatres for Merlin Park Hospital.

    Councillor Conneely told Midwest News that the ongoing delay in providing these modular theatres is most disappointing.

  • A new study for the Saolta Hospital Group concludes that a new acute hospital should be built on the Merlin Park site in Galway.

    The external assessment and options appraisal process conducted by KPMG and Scott Tallon Walker Architects looked at existing infrastructure at both the UHG and Merlin Park sites, and concluded that a new fit-for-purpose 1,150 bed actue hospital, to meet the needs of the large geographic area it serves, should be developed at the Merlin Park site to serve patients from Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal. 

    The study also says the most appropriate location for a regional elective hospital is also in the Merlin Park hospital site - and says a new elective hospital will significantly improve patient access to elective care by reducing waiting times and cancellations.

    While these developments could take at least 15 years to develop, the Saolta Hospital group says there's a crucial  need for work to continue on a number of approved developments at the University Hospital Galway site, including the new Emergency Department and new Radiation Oncology facility.

    The options appraisal also recommended developing new pathology lab facilities and new cancer facilities at UHG which would allow the hospital to provide  new rapid access clinics and replace existing sub-standard day ward and outpatient facilities - many of which were constructed in the 1950's and do not meet standards required to deliver a modern cancer service.

  • It was confirmed by the Taoiseach yesterday in the Dail that planning permission was submitted last December (2018)  for two new modular (temporary) operating theatres for orthopaedic surgery at Merlin Park Hospital in Galway.

    This is after almost two years of waiting for what was to be an immediate solution to the closure of two theatres at the hospital in Sept 2017 due to leaks in the roof.

    Galway Independent councillor Catherine Connolly again raised the matter and the excessive delay, yesterday in the Dail.

    Last month a group of ten orthopaedic surgeons at Merlin Park Hospital wrote to the Health Minister Simon Harris , as over 1500 people in the region  are now on waiting lists for orthopaedic surgery at the hospital.

    One of the two closed theeatres in 2018, reopened again, but the other remains closed and there is no date yet available for the delivery of two modular theatres on the Merlin Park site.

    Deputy Connolly told Midwest News today that after months of questioning and receiving a variety of contradictory answers on the progress of the new theatres, the Taoiseach yesterday told her a tender process was recently undertaken and the two theatres are currently in the planning process.


  • COVID-19, Community Assessment Hubs are being set up by the HSE so that patients who are confirmed as COVID positive, and who require a face to face clinical assessment can attend a community based hub as near as possible to where they live.  

    Patients can only access these hubs for assessment by GP referral.

     The aim of the hubs is to divert mildly symptomatic patients who require medical assessment away from the acute hospital system by providing a facility in the community where patients can be seen, and clinically assessed by a team of Nurses, Doctors and Physiotherapists.

    The Community Assessment Hubs in this region are located in:

    Galway  - Unit 3 (Podiatry Unit,  Merlin Park University Hospital, Galway

    Mayo - County Clinic Castlebar

    Roscommon - Venue To Be Confirmed

    The Community Assessment Hubs will provide a service Monday to Sunday, from 08.00 to 20.00.

    Attendance at the unit will be by appointment only.  There is no walk in capacity.

    The patient’s own GP must refer the patient to the Community Assessment Hub.

    Each of the facilities has parking on site for staff and patients.  Wheelchair accessibility is available on sites.  Ambulance access can be facilitated on each site.

    All three facilities are due to open this week.

  • Almost two years after two operating theatres at Merlin Park Hospital were closed due to a leaking roof, the modular theatres promised for the hospital have not yet become a reality.

    In October 2016, two theatres at the hospital closed, and one of the refurbished theatres reopened in March this year to deal with patients on orthopaedic waiting lists in the West.

    However, the provision of two modular operating theatres has not yet become a reality, despite the fact that there are over 6,000 patients currently waiting for surgery.

    Galway City FG Councillor Padraig Conneely questioned HSE management on the issue at yesterday's HSE Regional Forum meeting in Merlin Park Hospital, where he was told the modular theatres should be in place in the first half of 2019.

    Speaking with Midwest News, Councillor Conneely said progress on the matter is very disappointing....