TD wants HSE held to account over Mayo hospital project delays

A TD has hit out at the failure of the HSE to take the required steps to expedite construction of the new emergency department at Mayo University Hospital (MUH).

Deputy Alan Dillon stated: "For me and for members of the Oireachtas, holding the HSE to account is really important.

"The executive's inaction is, at times, unjustifiable.

"The urgency of this matter is stark when one looks at the alarming number of patients who spend more than 24 hours on trolleys at MUH and that was underscored in 2023 when the latest figures were released.

"There is a pressing need for a new ward block within MUH and we must vigorously campaign for the realisation of that.

"A recent HIQA report outlined deficiencies within the facilities and held that the need for a 75-bed ward block at the Mayo site was unquestionable.

"This is one of the long-term actions that the management within MUH presented as a valid solution, particularly in the context of addressing the shortage of single, en-suite rooms in MUH.

"Mayo deserves access to quality healthcare services in a timely and efficient manner."

In response, the Minister of State at the Department of Health Mary Butler said she will relay to Minister Stephen Donnelly the concerns raised by Deputy Dillon.

She elaborated: "Departmental officials are considering all available opportunities to improve on the pace of delivery of capital health projects.

"This process is currently underway and includes consideration of the use of modern methods of construction to deliver rapid build.

"In March this year changes to the public spending code aimed at enhancing National Development Plan delivery were introduced.

"These changes seek to streamline the appraisal and approval of major projects, with infrastructural guidelines due to issue shortly.

"As Deputy Dillon will be aware, a five-year allocation out to 2025 of €5.65 billion has been provided to the Department of Health as part of the review of the NDP to support projects and programmes throughout the country.

"The early stages of all capital projects are the slowest.

"Once construction starts, it generally happens very quickly. That said, I will certainly bring Deputy Dillon's concerns back to the Minister.

"We are facing into the winter again now and the last thing we want to see is patients, particularly older people, on trolleys."