BENDING HIS BACK An Taoiseach Enda Kenny turning the sod on the new extension of the Sacred Heart Hospital in Castlebar in the company of hospital staff and local elected representatives. Pic: Keith Heneghan/Phocus
THE redevelopment and refurbishment of the Sacred Heart Hospital will provide a ‘facility for the future which will ensure residents will live with dignity’, according to An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny.
He officially turned the sod of the new €13m redevelopment of the hospital yesterday morning. The work on the hospital has already partially begun and when completed will consist of a two-storey extension with 70 single bed rooms and two two bed rooms along with extra facilities for residents and visitors. It is expected the construction phase will take 15 months to complete and the redevelopment will be in operation at the end of 2017 or beginning or 2018.
Julie Silke of the Sacred Heart Hospital thanked An Taoiseach for taking his time to perform the official sod turning and for his support to the hospital. She said the capital investment into the hospital ensured a modern approach to patient care in the hospital and it was a great day for Mayo.
The Sacred Heart Hospital first opened in 1973 and Mr Kenny said he was delighted that the hospital will now have the facilities for modern times.
“We need facilities suitable for modern times for people to spend their hours and days and not have a system which applied so many years ago when you had 50 or 60 bed wards. The imperative is to have quality care and facilities and systems for older people with the many challenges that lie up ahead. That faces everybody who is going to live a long life. At some stage or another the facilities here available at the Sacred Heart will be needed by people. In general community nursing home are an essential part of the structure and fabric of the health system,” he said.
The long-term future of the Sacred Heart Hospital was a political hot potato for many years in Castlebar before funding for the hospital was eventually allocated. Referring to doubts that the project would not go ahead, Mr Kenny said he was glad the world class facilities were now getting built.
“Despite the economically difficulties the country faced we have been able to put this into the capital programme. Despite doubts that it may not go ahead, I am glad to see a Galway firm, Carey Construction on site building a facility that will be around for the next 50 or 60 years to provide care and attention for people.
“It will have 70 singles bedrooms which will be world class standards and allow for the sense of privacy, dignity and integrity that will go with the health system which will be provided here. What we want over the next number of years is to ensure people across the country have the same access to the same of facility and standards which will apply in the Sacred Heart,” he said.