TAOISEACH Micheál Martin has been told that an elective only hospital should be developed at the site of St John’s Hospital in Limerick City to alleviate chronic overcrowding at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) in Dooradoyle.
Speaking in the Dáil on Tuesday, Limerick Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea said that the location of an elective only hospital at St. John’s was the best option rather than building a green field site operated as a public private partnership.
“The Taoiseach recently agreed with me about the desirability of establishing an elective-only hospital in the Mid West region, which I welcome. During the course of the consideration of that issue, careful consideration must also be given to the suitability of the site at St. John’s Hospital, Limerick, which has the space, expertise and track record to make this an outstanding success,” Deputy O’Dea explained.
“Does the Taoiseach agree that the provision of a State hospital, provided by the State on State lands, is infinitely preferable to what is being mooted by the HSE at present, which is some type of public private partnership with a controversial American outfit?”
Stating that he was agreeable to the line being taken by Deputy O’Dea, the Taoiseach added that these issues should not be over complicated.
“God knows that to get a health facility built takes an inordinate length of time, as we know from the various hospitals under construction, at planning or where there is a row before they even get off the ground. My view on elective hospitals is that where we have State land, we should get on with it.”
Former HSE Director General Tony O’Brien has previously stated that an elective only hospital for the Mid-West should be prioritised ahead of the rest of the country and in response to the matter being raised by Deputy O’Dea, the Taoiseach stated that an elective-only facility in the Mid-West ‘is the way to go’.
Deputy O’Dea continued: “The reason the construction of an elective only hospital for the Mid-West is so critical, is because of what we all witness every day with the chronic shortages and overcrowding at University Hospital Limerick, which is always at or near the top of the trolley count for the country.
“The simple reality is that the medical facilities in the region are insufficient to cater for its population. We do not have enough beds.
“The Board of Management of St. John’s, a hospital with a strong track record of delivering quality healthcare to the people of Limerick and the Mid West since 1781, have assured me that they have the land and the expertise to deliver an elective only hospital for the region.
“I believe that St. John’s is the best option rather than building a green field site operated as a public private partnership,” Deputy O’Dea added.