Senator Maria Byrne has called for the inclusion of a 120-bed block at St John's as part of the HSE capital plan
A GOVERNMENT senator has called for the delivery of a 120 replacement beds at St John’s Hospital in order to “alleviate pressure” at University Hospital Limerick.
Sen Maria Byrne questioned Minister of State Finian McGrath in Seanad Eireann if the replacement bed block, comprising four units of 30 beds each, would be included in this year’s HSE capital plan.
The €642m capital plan, which has yet to be announced, will decide if a number of important infrastructure projects go ahead in the Mid-West, including the 60-bed modular block in Dooradoyle.
“While 60 modular beds have been started, it will be a while before they will be opened. We need to start planning for the future. Attendance numbers are up at both University Hospital Limerick and St John's Hospital. St John's Hospital is a minor injuries clinic but it does some day procedures and if it received 120 replacement beds on a permanent basis, it would be able to carry out more procedures and deal with more minor injuries.
“This would alleviate the pressure on University Hospital Limerick. The beds need to go ahead at the same time as in University Hospital Limerick because we need to alleviate the pressure. People come from all over the mid-west and Nenagh Hospital is now carrying out cataract operations but we need St John's Hospital and University Hospital Limerick to deliver at full capacity to meet the needs of the Mid-West,” Sen Byrne said last week.
Minister McGrath said the progress in relation to the project is subject to the availability of funding.
“The HSE capital plan will propose the projects that can be progressed in 2019 and beyond, having regard to the available capital funding, the number of large national projects under way, the cashflow requirements attaching to each project and the relevant priority.
“Projects that are currently under construction and contractually committed to will not be affected. Once the HSE finalises the capital plan for 2019, it will be submitted to the Minister for consideration. I will convey the Senator's considerations and concerns to the Minister.”
He said it is at an “early stage” of planning and appraisal, adding that he will raise the issue with Minister Simon Harris.
Sen Byrne said: ”If we can get the small injuries clinic up and running properly, there can be more day procedures and it will take the pressure off UHL.”