LIMERICK’S new critical care block is “a major step forward for acute hospital services in this region”, Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has said in officially opening the €40 million new facility in Dooradoyle.
Sporting a Limerick badge on his lapel on what was his first visit to the hospital since his appointment, Minister Varadkar said it was “hard-earned taxpayers’ money that we can all agree is money well spent”.
The six-storey unit has been operational for a year and includes a 12-bed intensive care unit, a 16-bed high dependency unit, coronary care and step-down facilities and 19 isolation beds.
The long-awaited new emergency department will be fitted out on the ground floor and will open at the end of next year.
“In hospitals like this, we need to provide complex treatment in one place with all the expertise ready and available when lives are on the line,” said Minister Varadkar.
“This high quality building will make a huge difference to critical care in Limerick but it is just one part of a broader story, the story of a hospital which has gone from strength to strength since the sod was turned on this building in 2010.”
Also present for the official opening was Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, who said he was glad to see the continuation of capital developments in Dooradoyle which he had been part of as Minister for Health in the 1990s.
Modern medicine, Minister Noonan said, was “about marrying the expertise of consultants to the new digital revolution” and “appropriate buildings and facilities” were needed to carry it out.
“Modern medicine is also very expensive but what better investment can we make more than in the lives and health of our people.
“I am glad that Leo has a more adequate budget in 2015 than James Reilly had. We are out of the bad times now and we don’t envisage any more cutbacks,” Minister Noonan added.
Professor Colette Cowan, CEO UL Hospitals Group, said the new unit, which took “seven years from conception to completion” would provide “a more appropriate environment for our patients but also a better working environment for our staff and will help us retain and recruit specialist staff to the region”.