Harris admits all options are on table for UHG

Minister for Health, Simon Harris after officially opening NUI Galway’s new Human Biology Building, picture with Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUIG. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

An expert group carrying out an appraisal of the two hospitals in Galway will give consideration to moving UHG from its present city location to the extensive Merlin Park campus.

That’s what Minister Simon Harris told The Connacht Tribune this week, as he confirmed that such a seismic move has not being ruled out – although he was adamant that he would await the findings of the appraisal of the two hospital sites.

Minister Harris, who was in Galway on a number of official engagements, said that both hospitals will be fully appraised as to how they can be improved.

“There is no doubt that both facilities need major investment regardless of the outcome of the appraisal. All we can do at this stage is await the findings,” Minister Harris added.

One long-standing option would see the main hospital moved to Merlin Park with the maternity unit being retained and expanded at its current location.

That would result in some of the existing UHG property being sold off and, given its location, would command a huge price from potential developers.

Galway East TD Sean Canney, who accommpanied Minister Harris on his visit to Tuam and Mountbellew to open Primary Care Centres, said that the Merlin Park option was the only one that made any sense.

“Given the traffic situation in and around Galway City, it would be madness not to consider a move to Merlin Park which would suit almost everyone – from staff to patients to visitors.

“This appraisal has been fully funded and is up and running. There should be some indication of its findings before the end of the year,” Deputy Canney added.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.