THE Mid-West Health Service Executive (HSE) has refuted a claim that the proposed construction of the multi-million euro critical care facility at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Limerick, will be delayed due to a planning appeal.
Labour health spokesperson, Jan O’Sullivan stated a planned new critical care facility, scheduled to be built and in operation by early next year, will now be delayed indefinitely due to a planning appeal by the developers Sisk and Sons Ltd.
As part of the proposed reconfiguration plan for acute services throughout the Mid-West, a new purpose built critical care unit on the grounds of the Mid-Western Regional Hospital incorporating intensive care, coronary care, high dependency care, and cardiac care facilities was planned.
While Limerick County Council granted planning permission, developer Sisks have appealed to An Bord Plenala the request for €834,572 in development levies as part of the planning conditions.
Deputy O’Sullivan claimed that it would be at least December 6 next before a decision is made therefore increasing pressure on frontline staff to cope without the necessary resources with the demands being placed on them on a daily basis.
“The new six storey building would considerably improve the provision of services including an extension of the existing renal dialysis service currently provided in the Regional Hospital.
“When the HSE announced a downgrading of accident and emergency and surgical services provided in Nenagh and Ennis Hospitals there was an agreement and understanding that additional resources and investment would be targeted for the Regional Hospital.
However, instead what we have seen is a gradual cutback in services, along with bed and ward closures.
“The HSE must now, I believe, put in place a contingency plan to outline how they intend to deal with the expected increase in the demand for services over the coming winter months so as to ensure patients are cared for.
“The proposed new critical care facility is one of few capital projects agreed by the HSE for 2010 and I will be looking for confirmation from the HSE and Minister Harney that the funding approved will be ring-fenced,” she said.
However, the Mid-West HSE has insisted Deputy O’Sullivan’s statement is incorrect; as the appeal by developers John Sisk & Son relates only to the application of contribution levies by Limerick County Council and in no way effects the commencement of the works.
“A commencement notice has already been lodged with Limerick County Council and work was due to begin on site on Tuesday last,” said a HSE spokeswoman.