Saolta seeks €1m funding for new hospital planning at Merlin Park

Merlin Park Hospital

The Saolta University Healthcare Group – which operates Galway’s public hospitals – is progressing plans for a new hospital on the grounds of Merlin Park.

The group has sought funding of €1 million from the Department of Health for initial planning works for the new hospital in an effort to alleviate the chronic overcrowding at University Hospital Galway.

Earlier this year, Health Minister Simon Harris announced he would commission a plan for the use of the 150 acres at Merlin Park, at the same time confirming that a new Emergency Department would be built on the grounds of UHG.

Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughton said the funding application is the “latest signal” that a new hospital for Galway is moving up the political agenda.

“Saolta is currently carrying out an options appraisal in respect of the proposed development

“In its mid-term capital review submission, the hospital group has now sought €1 million from the Department for ‘initial planning’ of a new hospital in the grounds of Merlin Park.

“Just 18 months ago, there was no mention of a new hospital and the focus was on sticking plaster solutions at UHG, which 196 consultants have collectively described as unfit and unsafe.

“The application for funding in respect of initial planning by the hospital group is the latest signal of intent, and confirmation that a new hospital for Galway is now realistically in prospect.

“It is now beyond contest that UHG can no longer meet the present or future healthcare needs of our growing and aging population. The current crisis will persist and worsen until decisive and long-lasting action is taken,” said Deputy Naughton.

Last month, the Connacht Tribune reported that all 196 consultants working at UHG put their names to a letter to Minister Harris which described the hospital as “unsafe” and “unfit for purpose”.
For more on the plan for the new hospital, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.