€9m for rebuild of Sacred Heart Hospital

Fears for the future of the Sacred Heart Hospital in Roscommon town have been allayed after the Government announced that €9 million had been allocated towards the rebuild and upgrade of the facility.

 The current building, which was constructed between 1970 and 1976, is not compliant with modern health regulations.

  The long-awaited announcement came on Tuesday afternoon when Minister of State Kathleen Lynch, who has responsibility for Older People, announced an investment of €385 million for 90 centres across the country.

  The Sacred Heart Hospital is one of 33 existing facilities that will be replaced, while a further 57 will be refurbished or extended.

  The investment is made up of €148 million under the current HSE capital plan and a further €237 million capital made available under the Government’s recently published multi-annual capital plan.

  Minister Lynch said: “This very significant investment reflects our determination to maintain the current public nursing home bed-stock.

  “It is reassuring for those living in these homes, their families and communities throughout the country that the future of these public nursing homes has now been secured as a result of this investment.”

  According to the Capital Plan 2016-2021, which the Minister unveiled on Tuesday, the new Sacred Heart Hospital will be complete by 2021.

  However, the €9 million allocated falls short of the €13 million that the Health Service Executive said would be required for the project, in order to make it compliant with modern health regulations.

  The project design, completed by the estates department of HSE West, was recently released under the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act.

  At present, there are 95 beds at the hospital: 20 in St Joseph’s Ward, 20 in St Michael’s, 18 in Our Lady’s and 37 in St Catherine’s.

  Under the new design, a total of 95 beds would be maintained.

  The project design states that Our Lady’s and St Joseph’s are “not fit for upgrade and new build is required”, while “St Michael’s can have partial redevelopment to accommodate an eight-bedded dementia unit”.

  The HSE’s proposal was to build a new 50-bedded unit on the existing five-hectare (12-acre) site on the Golf Links Road. St Catherine’s Ward, which was significantly upgraded in 2010, could continue to cater for 37 residents.

  The fully refurbished St Michael’s Ward could cater for eight.

  Eighty per cent of the beds would be single rooms.

  The HSE assembled a project team, comprising seven officials, to oversee the new development, but it had stalled because funding was not forthcoming.

  Now, however, the project can progress.

  Minister Lynch also announced on Tuesday that €850,000 had been allocated for the refurbishment of Áras Mhathair Phóil, a 30-bed facility in Castlerea, also to achieve HIQA compliance.

  This is due to be complete next year.