25. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the repairs at Merlin Park University Hospital have been completed for some time while at the same time the process of procuring modular theatres is continuing; the reason for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6373/18 asked on 08 Feb 2018)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 25 and 89 together.

The Deputy will be aware that leaks in the roof of the building that houses Merlin Park University Hospital’s orthopaedic theatres occurred last September, necessitating the closure of both theatres in the interest of patient safety. An engineer’s report found that, in order to secure the integrity of the building, a full repair to the membrane of the roof was required.

As the Deputy has noted, these repair works have been completed. However, an assessment by an expert clinical team has found that the existing theatre design does not meet current surgical standards.

The Saolta Healthcare Group management team considers that the best way to restore effective theatre capacity at Merlin Park University Hospital is to construct 2 modular theatres on the Merlin Park site and it has been agreed to progress the development of this modular build. The tender for the provision of modular facilities at the hospital is at the final stage of the procurement approval process and it is expected that a contract will be awarded in the coming weeks.

As an interim measure, some capacity for elective orthopaedic surgeries has been made available in University Hospital Galway. Between 20 October 2017 and 29 January 2018, 88 patients had procedures carried out in University Hospital Galway that would otherwise have been carried out in Merlin Park University Hospital .