Work begins on major hospital projects in Limerick to add capacity in response to pandemic

Aine Fitzgerald

Reporter:

Aine Fitzgerald

Email:

aine.fitzgerald@limerickleader.ie

Work begins on major hospital projects in Limerick to add capacity in response to pandemic

Construction workers on the site of the new 24-bed block at Croom Orthopaedic Hospital this Monday

WORK has commenced on a number of major hospital projects in Limerick to help add capacity in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

HSE Estates has engaged a number of contractors to complete the works at University Hospital Limerick and at Croom Orthopaedic Hospital.

This includes the design and build of two 24-bed single room en-suite blocks, one at UHL and one at Croom. Both of these projects are being delivered by Clancy Construction, a firm with a proven track record of delivering complex development projects for acute public hospitals across the country. It is anticipated that both these projects will be complete in July.

UL Hospitals Group CEO, Colette Cowan, said she was grateful to HSE Estates and to all the contractors who were now on site working rapidly to complete these important projects.                                                              

“On the UHL site, foundations for the new 24-bed block were poured last Thursday, and since then, the building has been rising rapidly out of the ground. Construction personnel from the various contractors at UHL and Croom have been working long hours to help us add capacity in response to the pandemic,” she explained.                                                               

“I’ve been so impressed by the manner in which this vital work is being undertaken. Two shifts are being worked each day, with physical distancing being observed in order to protect the workforce. It has been quite extraordinary to witness, and I thank all these workers for their professionalism and dedication.”

Both projects involve a rapid build steel frame system that facilitates an earlier start to construction work and a more streamlined process than would be possible on traditional builds. It allows for certain elements of the buildings, such as en-suite bathrooms, to be manufactured off-site and brought to the hospitals as completed pods for installation, so there will be fewer truck movements to and from the hospitals during construction.

Both facilities are permanent structures, with scope for expansion vertically at a later stage. They are going ahead as part of the Government’s National Action Plan in response to Covid-19 and both projects are also in line with UL Hospitals Group’s ongoing strategic development plans, addressing in particular the identified shortages of single rooms in both hospitals and the requirement to replace their multi-bed nightingale ward areas.

Local TD Niall Collins said "the extra bed capacity at Croom Orthopedic Hospital is very welcome and badly needed. This extra capacity will help provide treatment to people on waiting lists who are experiencing huge delays. In the midst of this Covid crisis it is very welcome news to see that important capital projects are continuing."

A number of other projects have also commenced at UHL in recent days. These include: 

-       A 14-bed block being developed by Western Building Systems with a targeted completion date of June 2020. This is separate to the 60-bed block being developed by the same firm and which is on course to be handed over before the end of September. It is anticipated the 60-bed block will be open to patients before the end of the year.

-       Works are currently ongoing by BOC Gases to enhance oxygen storage supply and flow rates at the hospital to meet the anticipated additional requirement for oxygen.

-       Additional temporary units are being supplied by Portakabin (Ireland) Limited by the end of April to provide an additional six treatment bays to increase the capacity of the Medical Assessment Unit.