Calls for progress on 50 bed unit at Portiuncula Hospital as overcrowding gets critical

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Calls have been made for urgent delivery of a 50 bed unit at Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe as overcrowding reaches critical levels.

Galway-Roscommon TD Eugene Murphy says the new unit is “shovel ready” and works just needs the green light to proceed.

Speaking in the Dáil, Deputy Murphy said that the €17 million project can begin at a moment’s notice once approval is given.

At a recent visit with hospital management, the Fianna Fáil TD said that despite the best efforts of staff, the situation at Portiuncula is becoming untenable.

“There is simply not enough room with bulky equipment left lying in hallways and corridors as staff try to manoeuvre their way around while patients are squeezed into wards,” he said.

According to Deputy Murphy, construction of this 50 bed ward would allow patients ready for discharge to be moved to a transfer ward and free up essential space in the main hospital.

Portiuncula Hospital treats over 25,000 patients every year at the A&E alone, set to increase to more than 28,000 this year.

In time past some 1,500 people a month would come to the A&E at Portiuncula, but Deputy Murphy claims that after the closure of the A&E at Roscommon, that went up to more than 2,000 people.

The A&E unit at Roscommon Hospital closed in 2011, replaced with an “urgent care unit” that operates from 8am to 8pm and an out of hours GP service.

On top of the A&E figures, each year Portiuncula handles 1,664 births, 4, 267 cardia investigations, 7,677 day cases, 44,573 radiology examinations, and 210,373 laboratory tests.

It serves a population of more than 400,000 people in Galway and Roscommon and employs nearly 1,000 people.

“It is important that this new 50 bed unit at Portiuncula Hospital proceeds immediately, and I would urge the Minister to give the green light to this project without any further delay,” concluded Deputy Murphy.