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€25m Ennis community hospital in the pipeline

Sale of land depends on securing planning

THE HSE has been urged to lodge a planning application for the development of a new €25 million community hospital in Ennis at the earliest opportunity.

The call was made by Deputy Joe Carey after the HSE confirmed it intends to lodge a planning application for this project in the first quarter of 2022.

Jim Curran, HSE national director of capital and estates, said the HSE has “sale agreed” lands comprising 5.09 acres of Diocesan property near the Turnpike in Ennis for the provision of a new 100-bed community nursing unit.

However, the sale of lands is subject to planning permission for the development of a community nursing unit.

This project will see a new state-of-the-art facility, providing a 100-bed HIQA compliant community nursing unit for long stay residents including 88 single, four twin rooms and four palliative care facilities.

A full design team was appointed in March 2021 following a tender and evaluation process.

The HSE is intending to lodge a planning permission application in the first quarter of 2022. Funding for the design fees for the project are prioritised within the capital plant for 2022.

Deputy Carey said long-stay residential facilities have been extended in Raheen, Ennistymon, Regina House, Kilrush and he felt it was fitting that a new state-of-the art community hospital should be provided in Ennis.

He said he would like to see additional beds provided in this new hospital in view of the county’s ageing population.

Meanwhile, UL Hospitals’ Group chief executive, Colette Cowan has told Deputy Carey a new Local Injury Unit will become operational during the first quarter of 2022, depending on the arrival of new equipment.

Responding to a Dáil question, Ms Cowan stated the new injury unit was handed over to the HSE on December 15, 2021.

She confirmed the workforce from the existing injury unit will adequately staff this new facility, apart from some support staff deficits such as hygiene attendants, which are being addressed.

Deputy Carey said the new LIU, which is open from 8am to 8pm seven days a week, will include a reception area, triage area, cubicles, office, shower area and nurses’ station in a new single-storey building at the south-east side of the main building.

“The new LIU can play a big role in dealing with the health challenges people have. It has a team of highly skilled doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners, physiotherapists and other staff that deliver expert care and treatment for a wide range of injuries including broken bones, dislocations, sprains, and minor burns,” he concluded.

by Dan Danaher

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