From the Galway City Tribune – Ongoing overcrowding at the Emergency Department (ED) of UHG has highlighted the need for the HSE to ‘get moving’ on their plans for a new facility at the Galway hospital, according to a local senator.
Seán Kyne told the Galway City Tribune that well over two years after the deadline date for the submission of a planning application for the new ED unit at UHG, this still hadn’t been done by the Saolta University Hospital Group.
“While work on the €13 million interim facility is due to be completed by June with a provisional opening date in August, the planning application for the bigger job still hasn’t been submitted,” said Senator Kyne.
“This is despite the fact that the Saolta Hospital Group have said that they still have not submitted a planning application for a new Emergency Department more than two years after it made a commitment to then Health Minister, Simon Harris, to do so by Christmas, 2018.”
Senator Kyne also claimed there was a lack of focus as regards the new ED for UHG from the Saolta Hospital Group which manages the University Hospitals at Galway (UHG and Merlin); Letterkenny, Donegal; Castlebar, Mayo; Portiuncula, Ballinasloe; Roscommon and Sligo.
Senator Kyne said that the new ED, Maternity and Paediatrics unit at University Hospital Galway was now estimated to cost in the region of €275 million to €300 million – where expenditure on such projects exceeded €100 million, they were subject to special spending scrutiny, he added.
“The interim facility due to open later this Summer will undoubtedly be a help in terms of freeing up space, but the focus must remain firmly on making progress towards the provision of the main project which is badly needed for Galway and indeed the entire Western region,” said Senator Kyne.
He also said that over recent weeks, up to 36 patients were on trolleys at UHG awaiting admission to the hospital – a time of the year not associated with flus, the vomiting bug or other seasonal ailments.
According to Minister of State at the Department of Health, Frank Feighan, admissions for the over-75 age-group at UHG had returned to pre-pandemic levels, adding that the management of Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 ‘pathways’ had presented ‘additional challenges’.
Minister Feighan said that UHG was also experiencing capacity issues due to an increase in elective activity, and bed closures for operational reasons.
He added that the HSE was working with the Saolta Hospital Group to ease congestion, with a focus on patient flow by facilitating transfers to Level 2 hospitals.