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According to the minutes of the January meeting of the Board, the HSE had notified the Board that the previous funding commitment of €14.6 million for a renal unit at the hospital, which had been formally approved in June 2017, had now been withdrawn.
The minutes of the January Board meeting noted that “the CEO… and the Director of Estates and Facilities have met with senior officials at the HSE and expressed concern at the decision to withdraw funding in this regard.”
However, a hospital spokesperson has told the Medical Independent (MI) that progress has been made and it is hoped that work will begin later this year with no further delays.
“The hospital is expecting the proposed new renal dialysis project to now commence later in 2018. The hospital will be in receipt of tender returns by the end of June 2018 and a final decision to proceed will be made shortly thereafter in consultation with the Department of Health and HSE,” the spokesperson told MI.
“As the second-largest provider of dialysis services in the country, the hospital is keen to progress this project as soon as possible, as further delays would impact on patient care.
“The aim of the new unit is not just to achieve increased capacity, but to enhance the model of care for patients with a particular emphasis on home and self-care, building on our existing status as a home therapies centre.”
Separately, the spokesperson said that planning permission has been granted for a 12-bed ICU extension adjacent to the existing ICU on the second floor of the hospital. The hospital’s plans to lodge a planning application for an expansion to its ICU capacity was first reported in this newspaper last October.
“Expansion of our ICU capacity is vital to address current constraints that result in the most vulnerable of our patients waiting too long to access intensive care services,” said the spokesperson.
“The dramatically-ageing demographic means that the hospital must be prepared for more acute presentations and admissions. The hospital has continued to progress the design phase in 2018 and will seek further funding for this important development from the HSE.”