HSE submits revised plans for surgical theatre building at Merlin Park Hospital

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The HSE is seeking approval to revise its plans for the construction of a new surgical theatre building on the grounds of Merlin Park Hospital.

Planning permission was granted by Galway City Council for the construction of a modular building on the hospital grounds in August 2019 to provide two orthopaedic surgical theatres.

The modular building has been in the works since two theatres were forced to close due to a leaky roof in September 2017.

The project will also involve creating a link corridor the main hospital building, as well as storage space, rooftop plant space, and site landscaping.

The proposed revisions to these plans mainly include changing the size of the proposed surgical theatre for Merlin Park Hospital.

The size of the proposed theatre building would be increased by 111sqm to add “additional stores, plant, and interview room”, while the first floor of the building would increase its floor space by 50sqm to add an additional comms room and water storage room.

The HSE also seeks to change the descriptive language of the theatre building from “Modular” to “Traditional Permanent Structure”.

This seems to be related to some confusion over how permanent or long-lasting the new surgical theatre is meant to be based on the use of modular construction.

“We wish to clarify that the proposed building shall be a permanent structure and not temporary in nature as suggested by the planning authority.”

“The use of the terms Modular or Prefabricated relate to elements of the building which may be constructed off-site in the form of unitised construction to facilitate the rapid delivery of this essential healthcare facility.”

“An Orthopaedic theatre by its very nature must be a substantial solid structure to meet the strict criteria for this clinical use, therefore a significant degree of permanence is required in excess of 20+ years”.

The HSE also submitted a plan for external site lighting with this application, which had been one of the conditions of the original grant of planning permission.

The City Council is due to rule on this planning application by August 25.