Charity praises JP as work begins on €2 million ward

Gerard Fitzgibbon


Gerard Fitzgibbon

Pictured at the signing of contracts for the rehab unit at St Itas Hospital are Noel Nagle,  Irene OConnor , Victor Lowe, Margaret Culhane, Maria Bridgeman, Breda OKeefe,  Fergus Scanlon, Terence OBrien, Richard Naughton and Joe Hore. Picture: Michael Cowhey
A WEST Limerick charity has praised the “enormous generosity” of JP McManus after contracts were signed for the construction of a new rehab care facility.

A WEST Limerick charity has praised the “enormous generosity” of JP McManus after contracts were signed for the construction of a new rehab care facility.

Work is now underway on a €2 million rehab ward at St Ita’s community hospital in Newcastle West, which will provide new treatment and therapy facilities along with 22 new beds. The majority of the cost is being covered by the Friends of St Ita’s charity, which has raised over €3.3 million for the community hospital over the past decade.

Speaking at the signing of building contracts at the hospital this Tuesday, Friends of St Ita’s chairman Fergus Scanlan said that the project would not be possible without €750,000 from the 2010 JP McManus Pro-Am fund.

“It has to be said that this particular project would not have happened without the assistance of the great JP McManus, from whose 2010 golf Pro Am we secured an award of €750,000. It was this funding that firmly put the project on track, and so we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to JP.

“These greatly enhanced and expanded rehab facilities will be crucially important in the delivery of the service needs of patients. The Friends of St Ita’s feel very proud and honoured to have played a vital role in the realisation of yet another major development for St Ita’s, and more particularly their patients.”

The new unit will see the hospital’s existing rehab facilities updated, and will incorporate 16 single rooms, three double rooms and a new rehab unit, which will include treatment and examination rooms, an upgraded therapy department and other services. The HSE is providing €780,000 towards the cost of the building, while the contract for the work has been awarded to O’Brien Builders from Miltown Malbay, Clare. Work is expected to be completed in the next twelve months.

Mr Scanlan said that the new ward will not require any extra staffing resources when it is completed, which is a welcome bonus at a time when a HSE recruitment embargo remains in force. Since 2009 a new palliative care ward at St Ita’s Hospital, which was built thanks to €1.5 million in funding from the Friends of St Ita’s, has only been used on a day care basis due to staff shortages. Mr Scanlan stressed that “every effort continues to be made to get it opened to its full capacity”.

Mr Scanlan thanked the “very many clubs, groups, organisations and individuals in the community” who have helped the Friends of St Ita’s raise over €3.36 million over the past decade. He also welcomed the prospect of improved rehab treatment for patients from across West Limerick: “Both the Friends and management and staff are thrilled that this day has finally dawned and has brought with it the prospect of a much improved rehab service.”