THE 2021 Capital Plan has made an allocation of €6 million for health facilities in Clare, with six projects earmarked for investment this year.
The blueprint unveiled by Health Minister Stephen Donnelly and seen by The Champion allocates €1.89m towards the provision for what is described as a “fit-for-purpose residential addiction treatment service” to replace the existing facilities at Bushy Park, outside Ennis.
In respect of the replacement community nursing unit for St Joseph’s Hospital, which will comprise two 50-bed units on a green-field site, 75 of which will be long stay and 25 short stay, an allocation of €0.95m has been made by the Department of Health.
Provision for the equipping of the new Out Patient Department (OPD) at Ennis General Hospital – which will include the provision of an X-ray room and other diagnostic facilities has been made and represents a spend this year of €0.44m.
Meanwhile, Phase 1b of the redevelopment of Ennis General Hospital which will consist of the fit-out of vacant areas in the existing building to develop the Local Injuries Unit (LIU) is being funded this year to the tune of €1.3m. The upgrading and expansion of the existing theatre and Radiology Departments will secure and additional €0.2m.
In the east of the county, funding of €1.29m to ensure the compliance of Raheen Community Hospital with HIQA guidelines has also been allocated.
Welcoming the announcement, Senator Timmy Dooley described the allocation for Clare as “very significant”. “This is really welcome news for the county,” he said. “I’m particularly pleased to see that the community hospital in Raheen is to be supported in reaching the highest standards. Considerable work has been done there and this will enable that great work to continue. Likewise, the development of vacant areas at Ennis General Hospital is very important. The upgrade to the theatres there is something I have been lobbying for for some time and I’m really pleased that it has now progressed. It will mean that greater numbers of patients can be cared for with more day procedures and enhanced diagnostics. It’s all aimed at better outpatient services.”
Deputy Cathal Crowe, a member of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health also welcomed the allocation. “This represents a massive capital investment in healthcare in Clare,” he said. “I have maximised my speaking time on the health committee to push for this investment. €6m will plug some shortfalls and more money will be needed. I am particularly glad to see the investment in Ennis General Hospital. Just this week, I’ve been dealing with calls about Radiology delays and this funding will help to address some of those issues. The investment in the LIU is particularly important given that we don’t have an Emergency Department in Clare. That’s a debate that will continue, but this allocation from the Capital Plan will help to ensure that care is delivered to a high standard at Ennis General Hospital.”