UHG shells out millions to private operator to store patients’ charts

University Hospital Galway
University Hospital Galway

University Hospital Galway (UHG) has paid almost €2.75 million to a private contractor to store patient charts away from its congested city campus during the past four and a half years.

Annual costs of up to €710,060 have been paid to a Galway-based logistics company to store patient records and transport them to and from the hospital as required.

The figures were revealed by Fine Gael TD Hildegarde Naughton following a parliamentary question to the Minister for Health.

She said that the cost of storing charts was “stunning” and avoidable.

The Galway West TD has been campaigning for a new hospital to be developed at Merlin Park, having claimed that the UHG campus is overcrowded and cannot be expanded to meet the region’s current and future healthcare needs.

“This is further evidence that the UHG site is no longer fit for purpose and a long-term plan for another site is required in order to ensure a safe and reliable health service in the coming years,” said Deputy Naughton, who is the onle Connacht member of the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare.

“The amount of money being spent in a single year for the storage of patient charts in Galway would build a storage facility at UHG, but planning and spatial restrictions on the campus mean that this isn’t possible.

“We’re wasting time and money with each year that passes without a long-term plan for the development of a new hospital at Merlin Park,” she said.

A total of €2,730,215 was spent on external storage of patient records in the four and a half years between 2012 and last June. The service includes the remote storage of records and their delivery to and from UHG.

For more on this story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune