Modular outpatient department to open at Portiuncula Hospital next month

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A new modular outpatient and emergency department building for Portiuncula Hospital is expected to open in the middle of next month.

In response to a query raised in the Dáil on Thursday, Galway TD Denis Naughten received confirmation that a 14 bed prefab building is expected to be open by March 15.

Minister of State for Public Health Frankie Feighan confirmed that construction on a modular department is expected to be completed by the end of the first week in March.

It will then be commissioned for occupation in the following week, and is expected that it will be open fully as an outpatient department on march 15.

“The modular building proposed will provide for 14 temporary Covid-19 emergency department, ED, minor injuries treatment and assessment rooms, with associated support facilities.

“The unit will have a residual value for the displacement of outpatient accommodation after the Covid-19 emergency,” Minister Feighan added.

This is being done to ease the pressure on beds at the Ballinasloe Hospital, which lost 10% of its bed capacity due to reconfigurations needed for COVID-19 safety purposes.

Denis Naughten pointed out that after being reduced to just 13 single rooms, management at Portiuncula Hospital forwarded a proposal to the HSE for a modular building to take the outpatient department out of the hospital, so that it could be converted into single rooms.

“While funding has been forthcoming for the modular building for the outpatient department, refurbishment work has not taken place in the old outpatient department,” the Independent TD said.

In the same debate Minister Feighan also stated that the HSE intends to advertise for tenders for the construction of a the long awaited new 50 bed ward for Portiuncula Hospital in the first quarter of this year.

After this it is hoped that construction of the new ward block will begin in the summer of 2021, subject to funding.