Another 96-bed block for UHL under starting orders

University Hospital Limerick

HEALTH MINISTER Stephen Donnelly announced that the HSE is to fast-track plans to deliver another 96-bed block and more beds for University Hospital Limerick.

Construction is continuing on the first 96-bed ward block at the hospital, with a further two such blocks in the pipeline.

Confirming the acceleration of plans, Minister Donnelly said: “I am delighted to announce that the HSE are making arrangements to accelerate enabling works which will progress delivery of a new second 96-Bed Ward Block.”

“The HSE will also prepare plans to take forward a further phase of capital works that would include construction and fit out of a further four 24-bed inpatient wards as part of the upper part of second ward block.”

In a statement, UL Hospitals Group welcomed the commitment. 

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“This next phase of additional works will, pending planning permission approval, be carried out directly adjacent to the 96-bed block currently under construction at UHL, and create the lower part of the next block, over which the proposed second 96-bed block can be developed,” the statement said. 

Discussions are continuing, led by HSE Capital & Estates, on the logistics, phasing, and timelines for the additional works alongside the ongoing development of the first 96-bed block.

It is expected that an application for planning permission will be finalised in the coming months for the works, which will include extensions to the two-storey underground car park, and to the ground-floor and first-floor of the building that houses the hospital’s Critical Care Block, Emergency Department, and Renal Services.

The HSE is also preparing plans for the subsequent phase of capital works which will include the construction and fit-out of the second 96-bed block and a further four 24-bed inpatient wards.

The CEO of UL Hospitals Group, Prof Colette Cowan, said she was delighted to welcome the Minister’s announcement and declared that the ultimate delivery of the second block would go a significant way towards addressing the well documented shortfall of inpatient bed capacity in UHL and the Mid West region.

“The announcement is particularly welcome at a time when contractors are making great progress on the first 96-bed block, which was formally launched by the Minister last September,” Prof Cowan said.

“That development will not be sufficient in itself to address our historic shortfall in bed capacity, so this latest announcement is a significant step forward, and we will work with HSE Capital & Estates and national leadership to progress the various planning, procurement, and capital funding approvals necessary to ultimately create the capacity that will meet the healthcare needs of the people of the Mid West.”