WATERFORD’S vital health projects will escape the Budget axe.
It had been feared they might suffer because of the overspend on the National Children’s Hospital. But the HSE’s Capital Plan for 2019 to 2021 gives the go-ahead for the second cath lab and the new mortuary at University Hospital Waterford.
The hospital will also get a new palliative care unit. There will be 100 more beds for community nursing units in Waterford city and 95 more community nursing beds for Dungarvan.
Minister of State John Halligan, the Waterford Independent TD, said he was “delighted” to see these projects on the list.
the Government is taking the people of Waterford and the South East’s demands for improved cardiac services seriously
“In particular, I’m glad to see the delivery of the second catheterisation lab for UHW, which is currently in the design phase, stated within the plan,” he said. “It shows that the Government is taking the people of Waterford and the South East’s demands for improved cardiac services seriously.”
A design team is currently working on the second cath lab, and it is expected a contract will be awarded for the new mortuary unit by the end of October, with construction getting underway before the end of the year.
Waterford Senator and Fine Gael General Election candidate Paudie Coffey also welcomed the announcement. Senator Coffey has been lobbying to speed up the crucial appointments of staff for the new palliative care Unit at UHW.
“It is essential that the doors of the new palliative care unit are open as soon as possible now that it is fully built and equipped,” he said.
South East is the only region in the country without a fully dedicated palliative care unit
“The South East is the only region in the country without a fully dedicated palliative care unit, but now – after years of campaigning and fundraising by the hospice movement – this vital facility is now a reality. It will be a regional centre of excellence for palliative care with the necessary support services and I look forward to opening it as soon as possible.”
Opposition TDs also welcomed the HSE plan,but with more caution. Sinn Fein’s David Cullinane said the commitments for Waterford and the South East are largely a restatement of previous promises.
“I will go through this plan carefully to ensure that all of these announcements are followed through and delivered,” he said.
Fianna Fáil’s Mary Butler said she was still concerned that the National Children’s Hospital overrun would have a detrimental impact on the delivery timelines of some of these capital projects.
“I, along with my party colleagues will be keeping pressure on Fine Gael to ensure that these important projects are delivered on time,” she said.