Plans approved for new COVID-19 testing lab at UHG

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Planning approval has been given for the construction of a new laboratory for COVID-19 testing at University Hospital Galway.

The HSE intends to build a new lab building at UHG, due to the strain that COVID-19 testing has placed on existing facilities.

The 138m² building on the hospital grounds will be a dedicated facility for the Public Health Microbiology Laboratory.

The HSE said that the site where the new lab will go is currently being used for car parking, with approximately eight spaces to be lost as a result.

One objection was received stating that there is already not enough parking in the hospital, which has resulted in cars overflowing into neighbouring residential areas.

The planning application states that “The Department of Medical Microbiology (DMM) in UHG is divided into a few specialties; the diagnostic microbiology service, the Public Health Microbiology Laboratory (PHML) and the National Reference Laboratory (NRL).”

The current lab has been made “unfit for purpose” due to the extra demand placed on the DMM since May 202 for COVID-19 testing.

“The current accommodation does not allow for the safe testing for COVID-19 as well as the testing required by the PHML”.

“A new laboratory space would remove the COVID-19 molecular work from this area and ensure that it is performed in a space that is safer for workers and would protect the test from contamination.”

Planning permission was ultimately granted by the city council with three standard conditions attached.