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New Merlin Park surgical hub will treat 900 patients per week


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

New Merlin Park surgical hub will treat 900 patients per week New Merlin Park surgical hub will treat 900 patients per week

The new surgical hub for elective procedures in Merlin Park Hospital will treat up to 900 patients per week, according to the HSE.

It replaces a similar plan from almost fifteen years ago to build a €25 million surgical unit on the exact same site beside the main hospital block – the 2009 plan received planning permission but was never progressed.

A planning application has been approved by Galway City Council for a three-storey building, which will include four operating theatres, support services, parking for 108 cars, 25 bicycles and a new bus stop.

The four theatres and two minor procedure rooms will provide surgery during three sessions each day in a five-day week. There will be between 50-60 patients at each session and the building will be staffed by up to 180 people (80-100 staff on site at any one time).

There are also pre-assessment rooms, a preparation area with four bed spaces, recovery areas with 22 bed spaces, waiting areas and offices.

The hub has been described as an interim measure, pending the building of the new elective hospital on the grounds of Merlin Park and is designed to take pressure off University Hospital Galway (UHG).

According to the application, it has been identified as a “priority project” for the HSE.

City planners were told the proposal is “remarkably similar” to the 2009 plan “not just by means of its purpose, but in terms of its location, orientation and size”.

“The proposed surgical hub is urgently required to address national and local healthcare surgery provision and capacity needs for scheduled day surgery across the West region. As part of a government initiative, the facility aims to significantly reduce the waiting lists for select day surgery cases and meet national access targets, thus ensuring patients will be seen in a timely manner and receive the best quality service.

“The facility will support decongestion on the University Hospital Galway (UHG) site, where there are significant demands and volumes of scheduled and unscheduled patient services, including many planned/ scheduled day case procedures and a very significant unscheduled care stream.

“It will facilitate the provision of the majority of surgical day cases of low/medium acuity procedures and will allow for more timely access for emergency and complex care cases at the UHG site,” the application reads.

With the level of usage on site, the HSE said the provision of adequate parking would be “essential” for the hub, “which is not presently well served by public transport”.

“The surgery hub is designed for day surgery treatment and patients are to be discharged on the same day as their procedure. Patients will not be in a position to drive after surgical procedure and will need to be transported by car and thus the proposal involves the provision of 108 car parking spaces,” the application reads.

When announced last month, it was indicated that the first patients could pass through the doors as early as next Spring – the rapid build construction is expected to involve a combination of steel and concrete superstructure and pre-cast concrete floor slabs.

Meanwhile, Galway West TD and Government Chief Whip, Hildegarde Naughton, said this week that the construction tender for the new surgical hub will issue this month.

“This new surgical hub will be modelled on the very successful Reeves Centre at Tallaght University Hospital. It is intended that it will be developed and operational next year, thus reducing waiting times for people in the region awaiting elective surgery,” she said.

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