Plans for a new 50-bed district hospital and nursing home unit in Clifden have taken a major step forward this week, with the announcement that a design team has been appointed to the project.
The new unit, which will replace the existing district hospital and St Anne’s Community Nursing home, is to be constructed on the existing site of both facilities.
Welcoming the move, Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív (FF) said entering the design stage was significant as it meant the development would now progress through the process leading to planning permission and construction.
The TD for Galway West said the new unit was much needed, citing a HIQA Report that said the existing facilities were unable to meet the demands of patients.
According to Deputy Ó Cuív, the new unit will include specialised care beds that will be inter-changeable and available for use as required.
“I have been informed that a design team is currently progressing with drafting the design of the new unit.
“The site will include a ten-bed dementia specific unit as part of the 50-bed compliment in addition to the current respite bed compliment of two beds. These two beds will be inter-changeable between respite care and palliative care beds. All of the rooms in the new unit will be single-bedded ensuite rooms,” said Deputy Ó Cuív.
He believed this new facility would vastly improve the provision of healthcare for the elderly in the Clifden area – and would reduce the need for admissions to UHG, the nearest acute hospital.
“It has been confirmed to me that in order to facilitate clients remaining in their own home for as long as possible, in the Clifden catchment area and to avoid admission to the acute hospital in Galway, the administration of intravenous antibiotics will be part of the nursing provision in the new unit.
“In addition to the facilities, I am also advised that day care will be provided in the new unit,” said Deputy Ó Cuív.
The Cornamona-based TD said that while this was welcome news, it would be a while yet before shovels enter the ground, as finalised designs and securing planning permission will take time – even though he didn’t anticipate any major planning problems.
However, he said the single-biggest threat to all capital projects nationwide was the massive overspend on the new National Children’s Hospital in Dublin.
“We must ensure that there are no negative consequences for the progress of this project due to the overspend at the National Children’s Hospital.
“It would be important or the Minister for Health to ensure that no such delays occur with projects needed urgently outside of Dublin because of this over-run,” said the former Minister.
“We’ll be making sure that the West doesn’t suffer because of they’ve run into problems in Dublin,” added Deputy Ó Cuív.