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Hospital extensions underway in response to Covid-19 crisis

TWO rapid build hospital extension projects are underway to respond to the Covid-19 crisis in the Midwest.

Two 24-bed single room, ensuite blocks are earmarked to come on stream in July at both the main University Hospital Limerick (UHL) campus in Raheen, and on the site of Croom Orthopaedic Hospital in County Limerick.

Both projects, which are part of the National Action Plan in response to the Coronavirus crisis, involve a rapid-build steel-frame system that facilitates an earlier start to construction work and a more streamlined process than would be possible with traditional builds. Certain elements of the buildings, such as en-suite bathrooms, will be made off-site and brought to the hospitals as completed pods for installation, reducing the number of truck movements to and from the hospitals during construction.

According to the UL Hospitals Group (ULHG), the two facilities are permanent structures, with scope for expansion at a later stage, and are in line with ongoing strategic development plans, in particular the aim of addressing the shortages of single rooms and the replacement of multi-bed ‘nightingale’ wards at both hospitals.

Said ULHG CEO Colete Cowan: “On the UHL site, foundations for the new 24-bed block were poured last Thursday, and since then, the building has been rising rapidly out of the ground. Construction personnel from the various contractors at UHL and Croom have been working long hours to help us add capacity in response to the pandemic. I’ve been so impressed by the manner in which this vital work is being undertaken. Two shifts are being worked each day, with physical distancing being observed in order to protect the workforce. It has been quite extraordinary to witness, and I thank all these workers for their professionalism and dedication.”

Other works ongoing in response to the Covid-19 crisis include efforts to enhance oxygen storage supply and flow-rates at the UHL to meet the anticipated additional requirement for oxygen. Additional temporary portakabin units are set to become available at the end of this month, to provide an additional six treatment bays for the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU); and a 14-bed block is being developed with a targeted completion date of June. This is separate to the 60-Bed Block, also being developed Western Buildings. That unit is on course to be handed over before the end of September and open to patients before the end of the year.

Both of the rapid-build projects are being delivered by Clancy Construction, a firm with a track record of working with acute public hospitals across the country.



About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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