A row has broken out among two election candidates in Roscommon-Galway over the future of services at Portiuncla Hospital in Ballinasloe.

Independent candidate Denis Naughten claims the Saolta Hospital Group is planning to close the A& E and maternity services at Portiuncla Hospital and relocate them to a new hospital on the grounds of Merlin Park in Galway.

Plans are being developed for a new model 4 hospital on the grounds of Merlin Park Hospital, which would provide 24 / 7 acute surgery, acute medicine and critical care for counties Galway and Roscommon.

Deputy Naughten says that, in reality, this means all in-patient surgery for Galway and Roscommon will be carried out at the Merlin Park site, and both the emergency and maternity departments currently based at Portiuncla Hospital will be relocated to the Merlin Park site also.

However, FG's candidate in Roscommon-Galway Aisling Dolan insists there is NO plan to transfer maternity or A&E services from Portiuncla Hospital elsewhere.

Councillor Dolan has received confirmation from the Saolta Group that the long-term plan is for a new hospital on the Merlin Park site to meet future demand for services.

Plans to progress a new Emergency Department at the University Hospital Galway site will continue also, with new Women's and Children's Units on the upper floors of the new building, which will allow the transfer of services in existing facilities on the UHG site to this building.

The Saolta group says these developments will have no impact on the services currently provided in Portiuncla and Roscommon University Hospitals.



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