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New hospital plan for Merlin Park is “highly ambitious”

Government plans to build a new elective hospital for Galway within four years, on a site at Merlin Park, has been described as “highly ambitious” by the West’s most senior hospital manager.

Tony Canavan, Regional Executive Officer, for HSE West and Northwest, said the target for the completion of a new elective hospital was 2028 – it will have capacity for 175,000 procedures annually once it’s opened.

He said it was not an unrealistic target but a very ambitious one. And he conceded that an “awful lot of work” would have to be done within the next year, in order to delivery it within a four-year timeframe.

Mr Canavan was speaking at the HSE West Regional Health Forum at Merlin Park, in response to the Chair Councillor Donagh Killilea (FF), who asked for an update on timelines for the planned new hospital, which should cut dramatically waiting lists when it’s built.

He said that in 2021, the Government’s plan for healthcare reform – Sláintecare – included a commitment to build three new elective hospitals, one each in Galway, Dublin, and Cork.

Ann Cosgrove, Chief Operating Officer with Saolta University Healthcare Group said the elective hospital – earmarked for a site at Merlin Park – will be focused on providing day case, gastrointestinal endoscopy, minor operations, outpatient treatment and outpatient diagnostics services.

“This Galway centre with a planned eight operating theatres, seven endoscopy suites and nine minor operation rooms is forecast to provide 175,000 additional procedures, treatments and diagnostic appointments per year and will provide better care and outcomes for all patients,” Ms Cosgrove said.

“The new hospital will deliver greater certainty for patients who will benefit from being given an appointment date in an elective hospital rather than being placed on a waiting list under the current system. The separation of emergency (unscheduled) and elective (scheduled) care will lead to fewer cancellations and delays for elective care caused by seasonal surges, localised outbreaks, and surges in emergency attendances,” she added.

When pushed on the timelines, Mr Canavan conceded that 2028 was an “ambitious” target for the new elective hospital to be operational but it was realistic and one they were working towards.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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