26 May 2022

Update issued on Limerick’s planned new maternity hospital

Update issued on Limerick’s planned new maternity hospital

A new building for the University of Limerick Maternity Hospital is expected to come on stream later this decade

THE boss of the University of Limerick Hospitals Group (ULHG) says it could be eight years before the new maternity hospital is ready.

Colette Cowan, the chief executive of ULHG confirmed a feasibility study on the long-awaited project is under way, and will be presented to the board of the HSE this year.

It will see the University Maternity Hospital Limerick (UMHL) move from its current location at the Ennis Road into the Dooradoyle campus.

Ms Cowan said: “​Work is already progressing on it. We have sign money to start designing. We will be tabling a feasibility study and gap analysis to the HSE board in 2022. But no matter what way we do it, it will take a number of years because we will have to do enabling works, and knock the nursing home. We will have to rebuild the accommodation around that, so you're talking anything up to eight years.”

UMHL is the only facility of its kind in the region, but the hospital boss acknowledged the current building is “not fit for purpose”.

“We have designed a new building to be built on the UHL campus at a cost of €250m. So It's significant,” she added, “It is in the Ireland 2040 plan and was listed as a core project which must be delivered for the region for the safety of women and indeed support to people who live in the area. So we are working on that behind the scenes all the time.”

During the pandemic, restrictions meant many loved ones could not be with their partners when they were giving birth to their children.

“We were desperately upset ourselves about having to impose restrictions on women and partners who were having the most important event of their life experience. It was very tough,” Ms Cowan said.

Chief clinical director at ULHG Prof Brian Lenehan said he would be hopeful the new maternity unit will reduce the need for similar restrictions to be in place in the event of another pandemic.

"I'd be hopeful we will see a new maternity unit here in the hospital which is state of the art and has adequate accommodation,” he explained.

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