There's some progress reported this morning in relation to the planned extension of the Emergency Department at Mayo University Hospital.

Mayo FG Deputy Alan Dillon says the HSE Capital & Estates office has confirmed that they have commenced the procurement process for the engagement of a design team.

This will allow for formal design works to start on delivery of the proposed Emergency Department expansion and Medical Assessment Unit at the Castlebar hospital.

It's expected a design team will be in place before the end of this year, and that planning permission will be sought in the third quarter of next year.

Deputy Dillon says there will be a phased construction of the ED expansion and Medical Assessment Unit, to prevent unnecessary disruption to existing services and patient care.

In what he describes as "an exciting project for Castlebar", it's expected the long-awaited extension of the ED will be completed in late 2025 or early 2026.