No progress on 50-bed extension for Portiuncula

Portiuncula Hospital.

Despite being a priority for local HSE management, six years on from when it was first announced there has still been no progress on building a 50-bed extension to Portiuncula Hospital.

Councillor Aidan Donohue queried at this month’s Regional Health Forum West meeting why there was no timeframe being given by the Saolta Hospital Group about when this project would be brought to fruition.

Chief Operating Officer for Saolta Ann Cosgrove said this was a priority project for the group as the existing capacity in the Ballinasloe hospital did not allow for infection control.

She said throughout 2017 and 2018 few capital projects had been approved. Her hope was for approval for funding to be given early next year for “enabling works”.

“There’s zero, no hold up from our perspective,” she stated. The management had applied for the funding under additional capacity criteria, even though the wing was to replace accommodation currently on site.

“So, we’ve tried from every angle,” she insisted. The estimated cost was €17 million but building inflation was increasing every year so that may not be accurate in today’s climate.

Cllr Donohue also queried whether a children’s dentist had also been appointed to Portiuncula Hospital as families were having to travel as far as Galway to have their kids’ teeth seen to, which was hugely inconvenient.

Community Healthcare West chief officer Tony Canavan confirmed that agency staff had been approved to staff the clinic and equipment was currently being upgraded.

“We’re keen to get it open – it’s likely to be in early January but if we can we’ll open it before Christmas,” he promised.