Fianna Fáil TD for Galway East Anne Rabbitte has expressed concern that orthopaedic operations at Merlin Park may not resume until well into next year.  Theatres at the hospital were closed in September after a leak in the roof of the building was uncovered.

“It’s now more than two months after the two theatres were closed and the latest information from the HSE gives no real indication as to when they will reopen.  The HSE is now going down the route of building a temporary theatre facility on the grounds of the hospital but the closing date for that tender remains open and it will be another few weeks before the contract is awarded.  This means it will be well into the new year before the facility is actually up and running”, said Deputy Rabbitte.

“Meanwhile, hundreds of patients have had their procedures cancelled and are looking at lengthy waits before they can expect a new date.  While I appreciate that the decision to cancel these operations were made on health and safety grounds, the length of time it is taking to carry out the repair works and to find a temporary theatre facility seems unnecessarily long.

“We are all too aware of the lengthy waiting lists in Galway and the current situation will only serve to exacerbate the situation further.  I am urging bosses at the hospital to expedite their efforts to ensure that some of the operations can be rescheduled at UHG and other nearby hospitals.  Otherwise, we will be forcing patients, many who have already been waiting for months, on to even longer waiting lists.  This needs to be avoided at all costs”.

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