Slow movement by the Saolta hospital group to address the current lack of theatre space at Merlin Park Hospital, Galway is totally unacceptable.
A temporary theatre facility is in the tendering process with a closing date for submission of tenders being the 17th November. The evaluation of the tenders is to take a number of weeks. This process is too slow in this emergency situation and a sense of urgency is lacking.
There is no clarification as to whether planning permission is required. This lack of clarity is worrying as the planning process will take a further three months.
In the interim, some elective surgery will be done at UHG and some limited surgery will also be carried out in private hospitals. These measures will not deal with all the patients awaiting surgery and the net result is that the waiting list will become longer.
I am again calling on the hospital group to provide and implement a plan that is specific and provides a date for the orthopaedic surgery facility at Merlin Park to be up and running.