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Connacht Tribune

New UHG Emergency Dept won’t open until 2024

Denise McNamara

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The new Emergency Department at University Hospital Galway is now unlikely to open before 2024 – at the earliest; that’s despite new figures which show a seven percent increase in patients attending in the last two months.

Fianna Fáil Councillor Mary Hoade told councillors at a Regional Health Forum meeting this week that nearly three-quarters of her time in the Regional Health Forum West had been focused on trying to secure a new Emergency Department (ED).

“What is holding up the design? I’m talking a process that’s going on for four years, not four months.”

Joe Hoare, Assistant National Director of Estates in the HSE, told the meeting that the first stage of the large would be project completed in the next few weeks. This involved an outline design, the scope of the scheme and the estimated cost. It examined whether an extension would have to be built to accommodate the emergency department while building was taking place and if it would need to be completed in phases.

The HSE had engaged with Galway City Council about bus transport corridors through the site and would meet with An Bord Pleanála officials to see if the project was a strategic infrastructure development which would see the planning application lodged with them rather than the local authority.

Mr Hoare said they planned to lodge the planning application by the end of the year, draw up detailed designs in 2010 and carry out enabling works on the congested site in 2021. Building work would take place in 2022 and 2023.

“It does take a lot of time. I appreciate everybody is frustrated,” he admitted.

Cllr Hoade said it would be 2024 at the earliest before any patient could hope to present themselves at a new ED.

General Manager of Galway University Hospitals, Chris Kane, said there had been very high numbers of patients arriving in the last two months. Emergency department presentations were up seven percent in the last two months compared to last year while admissions were up by six percent.  There had been a surge in cancer patients being admitted through the ED because UHG was a Regional Centre of Excellence.

Cllr Padraig Conneely (FG) queried how many times the full capacity protocol had been implemented. Ms Kane replied that it was enacted on a regular basis as it was national policy to switch to the ‘code red’ when waiting times for patients to be treated surpassed nine hours.

It involved putting trolleys on wards, checking which patients could be released and looking at minimising delays in diagnostic tests.

Connacht Tribune

Galway Real Estate have attractive site for sale on the Aran Islands

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Oghill, Inishmore, Aran Islands.

Galway Real Estate have an attractive site/property for sale at Oghill, Inishmore, Aran Islands.

The site is approximately c.150 square metres. (c.1600 sq. ft.) on c.1 acre with planning permission to convert to a dwelling house and fit a new waste water treatment system. Planning Ref: 17/1284. There are two years  left on planning. The planning is for a proposed 4 bedrooms, kitchen, dining/room, laundry/room, bathroom. This is a wonderful opportunity to get a property ready to go. Offers in excess of €125,000 considered.

Full details from Paddy Flynn 0872557618 or Galway Real Estate on 091565488 or email: info@galwayrealestate.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Aran to welcome Ireland’s largest domestic passenger ferry

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Saoirse na Farraige

The largest domestic passenger ferry in the country is making its journey from the Far East to the Far West – ready to commence service from Galway to the three Aran Islands.

The 40-metre ‘Saoirse na Farraige’ represents a massive investment – and vote of confidence – in island tourism on the part of the owners, Aran Island Ferries.

Commissioned in January 2019, this sixth member of their fleet has a capacity of 400 – and it is expected to arrive in Galway Bay from Hong Kong in October.

The vessel departed Hong Kong last week, embarking on a 2,500 mile journey to Galway Bay – inside the hold of a heavy lift ship called Svenja’”.

Saoirse na Farraige has at least three more stops to make before arriving in Galway Bay at the end of October – and it won’t not enter service until next spring.

Aran Island Ferries Sales and Marketing Manager, Aine McLoughlin, said that they were looking forward to seeing visitors enjoy their journey to the Aran Islands, enjoying the increased capacity, accessibility, and safety features.

“We are really looking forward to officially launching ‘Saoirse na Farraige’ next year and seeing visitors enjoy their journey to the Aran Islands on board our new ferry,” she said.

Saoirse na Farraige will serve all three islands from Rossaveel – with a journey time of 40 minutes to Inis Mór, 50 minutes to Inis Meáin, and 55 minutes to Inis Oírr.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in now – or download our digital edition at www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Emergency Department upgrade will happen at UHG – but it’s complicated

Denise McNamara

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The current ED at UHG.

Revamping the emergency department at UHG will involve three separate projects – leading to the hospital’s chief describing the process as ‘very complex’.

City Councillor John Connolly (FF) said the people of Galway were concerned that the new emergency department – like the ring road – would never happen, as it appeared to be so bound up in red tape.

Joe Hoare, assistant national director of estates in HSE West, told the Regional Health Forum West meeting that that outpatients department adjacent to the emergency department was being redeveloped to create more capacity for streaming Covid patients from non-Covid patients for the winter.

The outpatients department would be relocated to the Merlin Park campus. The design for this building would be completed within ten months with construction expected to begin in by last 2021 at the earliest.

An interim emergency department was the next priority so that the current building could be knocked to make way for the new state-of-the-art building, creating a new maternity department and paediatrics unit.

Since the budget for the new children’s hospital had blown out of all proportion, the rules over public projects over €100 million had changed and the Saolta hospital group had to ensure its business case for the massive project was ‘watertight’.

Mr Hoare said all three projects were moving in parallel, including the enabling works for the main build, which would take around 18 months to complete.

He described the project as Saolta’s ‘absolute top priority and was regarded as such by the national HSE organisation.

Head of Saolta, Tony Canavan, said the project was ‘big and very complex’ and required management to remain ‘very focused over a long time’.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in now – or download our digital edition at www.connachttribune.ie

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