“Ó ghéarchéim go ghéarchéim.”
Simon Harris today told the Dáil that the government will support ‘planned development’ in relation to a new hospital in Galway.
He said, however, that the Saolta group will decide on the best action to take and that the government will allow them to make recommendations without interference.
The Saolta group is expected to submit papers to the government by mid-2018, advising them on the proper action to take in relation to a new hospital.
The Health minister was responding to a question by Catherine Connolly TD about the chaos in Galway’s hospitals.
She outlined the problems faced by those attending Merlin Park University Hospital and UHG.
“There are forty patients on trolleys as I stand here today. The number of beds has been reduced substantially, for example from 812 in January ’06 down to 655.
“We have a major crisis. You refer to good planning. There has never been good planning in relation to the regional hospital in Galway.
“They have been forced to go from ‘ó géarchéim go ngéarchéim’ – from crisis to crisis and they’ve never had the luxury of long-term planning nor the support of any government,” said Catherine Connolly.
She asked the minister about the possibility of a new hospital being planned before this time next year.
“Am I to read from your answer that by mid 2018, we’ll have some answer in relation to the planning for a new hospital on Merlin Park Hospital? Is that what you’re telling me?” Deputy Connolly asked.
Simon Harris said that by mid-2018, the government will have an options appraisal paper where the group will tell the government, the oireachtas and the HSE how it would like to develop its services.
“It’s not for me to tell the group. I’ve given the group the go-ahead in terms of funding to go ahead with an options appraisal. If that plan is delivered to me, you will have a government and a minister that is supportive of proper planned development in Galway,” Simon Harris said.