AN investment of €800,000 is to be made towards the upgrade of the 45-bed Kilrush District Hospital, with the sod expected to be turned in early July.
The work is being carried out, at the hospital, which employs 45 staff, to meet Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) guidelines.
“We have decided to put a new wing on to the hospital, with 15 new beds, along with day rooms and other ancillaries.
“We’re registered for 45 beds and we’re trying to keep to that level,” chairman of the entirely voluntary board of directors of Kilrush District Hospital Ltd, Gerry O’Malley, explained.
“HIQA only want two people in any room now, so we’re now obliged to do that. Residents and the public are looking for private rooms as well. The job is gone out to tender since last Thursday and there have been eight expressions of interest. We’d expect to be starting on the first week in July and finishing by Christmas,” he added.
The upgrade will incorporate three double and additonal private rooms, along with a new lobby, new toilets and showers.
“Over the years, we’ve added nine private rooms, two three-bed wards, a day room, a dining room, a new kitchen and a lift. We have over €1 million put into it already,” Mr O’Malley said.
The work will be paid for from hospital funds and via a bank loan.
“We have to fund it ourselves. We have some money in reserve but we’ll be taking out a bank loan. We get no assistance from anybody else.
“We don’t fundraise regularly because we couldn’t sustain it over that length of time,” the board chairman explained.
The voluntary directors have been running the hospital since 1988.
“We got the keys in December 1987 and started in 1988. So we’re 26 years running it on a voluntary basis. We have 45 full and part-time staff. We have a €1.2 million pay packet every year, paid for by the patients under the government’s Fair Deal Scheme,” Mr O’Malley revealed.
While the final monthly meeting of Kilrush Town Council was held last week, Mr O’Malley says that the council might yet officiate at the unveiling of the upgrade work.
“We’ll have the turning of the sod when we get a preferred bidder. We’re hoping that it might be the last act of Kilrush Town Council,” he confirmed.