Minister for Disability and Fianna Fáil TD for Galway East, Anne Rabbitte, has welcomed the Cabinet’s approval today for the development of a new elective hospital at the Merlin Park University Hospital site in Galway.

The elective hospital is one of three new such developments to be opened in Galway, Cork, and Dublin.

The new hospital will deliver planned consultations and procedures where patients do not require an overnight stay.

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Once opened, there will be around 175,000 procedures/treatments/diagnostics per year, or 585 every day.

The new site will include 8 theatres and a further 9 minor operation rooms, 7 Endoscopy suites and a further 6 outpatient diagnostic suites, 10 outpatient rooms and 15 outpatient consultant rooms, with almost 320 staff.

The Preliminary Business Case has met the requirements of Gate 1 of the Public Spending Code so can now move to detailed planning and procurement for some sites.

The Public Spending Code states that for projects over €100 million, Government approval must be sought for projects at preliminary business case stage.

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Minister Rabbitte commented:

Today’s Cabinet approval paves the way for the construction of a new Elective Hospital in Galway, which will ease pressure on waiting lists on multiple fronts.

As a Minister in the Department of Health, this has been something I have been working on with my party colleague, the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, in recent years.

I will continue to ensure this project moves forward as quickly as possible while adhering to the necessary processes.

and she continued:

This Galway project is recognition by Government of the pressures being faced by the University Hospital Galway. This new hospital will be a major change to health infrastructure in Galway.

There will be a focus on high volume procedures and treatments, such as Orthopaedics, Opthamology, Urology, Gynaecology, Pain Medicine and Ear, Nose and Throat, which is absolutely major for the region. This will support not just people from Galway but across the West and Northwest.

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These new elective hospitals allow us clearly to separate out scheduled and unscheduled care, which means better access to care for elective patients and a reduction in cancellations. It also ensures capacity in acute hospitals for the more complex and acute care some patients require.

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This Government has invested more in our health services than any of its predecessors. The health budget is now at a historic high of over €23 billion. Over 900 additional acute beds have been delivered since 1 January 2020, while we have increased our number of critical care beds by 26%.

and she concluded:

We have also recruited more than 16,200 staff over the last two years; 4,600 nurses and midwives, 2,650 health and social care professionals, and over 1,750 doctors and dentists. This is the highest level of recruitment in the history of our health service, and we intend to keep recruiting as fast as we can.

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