WORK has begun on the new 60-bed unit for University Hospital Limerick.
A €2 million funding boost ahead of the publication of the capital funding plan has allowed hospital management to start groundworks in preparation for the main task of building the unit.
The 60-bed unit is intended to take some of the pressure off finding beds for patients admitted through the busy emergency department.
The works were started in a week when there were more than 70 people on trolleys in the emergency department on one day waiting for beds.
No timeline has been set for the completion of the unit as the main body of the €19.5 million funding has yet to be officially confirmed although local politicians have said publicly that it will be part of the capital plan.
It’s understood that the build will take up to a year, all going well and after that, the hospital will need to hire nursing and support staff and fit out the unit.
A statement on behalf of the UL Hospitals Group said that a timeline for overall project completion could not be set until funding is approved for the main modular build contract itself.
“Commencement of the enabling works is a significant milestone. It is accepted by all stakeholders that there is an imbalance in acute hospital bed capacity around the country. Delivery of the 60-bed inpatient block at UHL will begin to help us address our capacity issues in the MidWest,” the statement added.