THE €7.8m QUESTION

No funding available for Rehab Unit in 2016 – HSE …but Feighan confidentNo funding will be available this year to progress the construction of a Rehabilitation Unit at Roscommon University Hospital, the Health Service Executive has confirmed.

  Last week, Dr. Gerry O’Mara, the Consultant Geriatrician at the hospital, said that he was very concerned that funding for the unit had been “withdrawn”.

  It was announced in May 2015 that the HSE had approved €7.85 million for building the ten-bed unit, which would operate as a satellite centre for the National Rehabilitation Unit, Dun Laoghaire.

  However, the HSE now says: “Due to funding constraints and competing priorities, no funding can be allocated to this project in 2016.”

  They said that funding for the unit was included in the HSE’s 2016-2021 capital programme, and that it was now intended to commence the project  “later in the programme”.

   No exact timeframe was given on when the project would commence.

  The HSE added: “A spatial plan for the site, including provision for the Rehabilitation Unit, has been developed by the local estates office and agreed by the Saolta Hospital Group.”

  Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has sought an urgent meeting with Simon Harris, the Minister for Health, over the matter.

  “The need for this facility at Roscommon has been pointed out many times in the past and the commitment was made by the previous administration,” Deputy Fitzmaurice said.

  “The decision to fund this unit is a political decision and I will strongly resist any attempt to withdraw this funding.”

  Senator Frank Feighan, of Fine Gael, said that he was confident the unit would proceed as planned.

  “On Friday last, I had a meeting with the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, and highlighted to him the importance of this rehab facility for Roscommon, Galway and the wider region,” he said.

  “I am confident that, as planned, we will see the construction of this ten-bed specialist ward accommodation on a greenfield site adjacent to the existing main hospital building.”

  He said that 50 jobs would be created when the unit was operational, apart from the employment created during the construction phase.