The new psychiatric unit at University Hospital Galway (UHG) has been completed by contractors and is now due to be open to patients by June.
The €20 million mental health block consists of 50 private rooms as well as family rooms where patients can meet with relatives.
Chief officer of community healthcare west Tony Canavan said the building was handed over in February and they were now concentrating on equipping the unit.
Management were also in discussions with staff and their representatives over the numbers which would be assigned to the new unit.
The Mental Health Commission would have to pass the unit as fit for patients and this process could also take a few months.
“The planned date for operation of the unit is June 2018,” he stated.
“I agree it’s a very positive development for the county and the region…it consists of 50 rooms – five more than we currently have.”
He said the HSE had established community mental health teams and management now had to identify bases for them. One of those would be in the new primary health centre earmarked for the Newcastle Road where the Shantalla Health Centre is currently located.
The HSE had applied for capital funding to carry out a pre planning survey for the development of a primary care centre here. Once it was approved, the project would proceed to planning.
Fine Gael Galway City Councillor Padraig Conneely said after a tour of the building he believed the atmosphere for patients and staff would be very good.
A modern mental health unit was long overdue, he added.
In response to his queries about what would happen to the defunct building once the unit became operational, Mr Canavan said it would be knocked and a new radiotherapy unit would be built in its place.
See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.