Revealed: HSE plan for €13m rebuild of Sacred Heart Hospital

The Health Service Executive have revealed their plan for the rebuild and upgrade of the Sacred Heart Hospital, Roscommon town.

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

  The Health Information and Quality (HIQA) have repeatedly stated that the building, which was constructed between 1970 and 1976, is not compliant with modern health regulations.

  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, but a radical overhaul of the building would be carried out.

  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 is 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 would cater for eight.  

  Eighty per cent of the beds would be single rooms.

  A number of auxiliary works, like a new entrance with a new sheltered canopy, would also be carried out. The HSE has assembled a project team, comprising seven officials, to oversee the new development. Julie Silke-Daly, the Director of Nursing at the Sacred Heart Hospital, is one of the members of the team.

  According to the project design document, construction of the development would commence in May 2016 and be completed in January 2017.

  However, it seems highly unlikely that that timeline will now be met because of a delay in funding approval.

  Locally, the HSE are very keen for the project to proceed.

  On August 14, in a letter released under FoI, Siobhan O’Sullivan, the HSE’s temporary area manager for Roscommon/Galway, wrote to the national head of operations, Michael Fitzgerald, seeking €13 million to advance the project.

  “I write to seek your support for the urgent replacement of 50 of the long-stay beds in the Sacred Heart Hospital and Care Home, Roscommon,” she wrote.

  “The provision of the replacement long-stay beds is critical in that the existing accommodation was built in the 1970s and is not HIQA compliant in relation to care environment, fire safety and water management.

  “Nor is it amenable to re-construction to a primarily single-bed layout, the cost of which would be prohibitive and the investment not justified.

  “The total estimated capital cost of the project is €13 million…

  “I should appreciate your urgent approval for its submission to the National Capital Steering Group.”

  As yet, however, the funding has not been sanctioned. Doubt has been surrounding the long-term future of the hospital since the summer.

  A separate document, also released under FoI, reveals that the HSE were concerned about the “severe adverse publicity” any threat to the hospital future would cause.

  “Roscommon public will protest at any closure to services at SHHR (Sacred Heart Hospital, Roscommon),” a HSE risk assessment form, which was completed on August 11, said.