Deputy Connolly said she has raised the closure of the theatres in Merlin Park in the Dáil on Thursday, 28th with the Minister for Health.
It was confirmed to Deputy Connolly that a leak developed on 4th September in the roof of a building at Merlin Park hospital that houses the hospital’s two orthopaedic theatres. Operations were suspended for a week to allow the maintenance unit to make repairs. A second leak was then noticed on 13th September whereupon all operations in the two theatres were again suspended.
As a result, no elective orthopaedic surgeries are taking place at the hospital, a hospital which purports to be a ‘centre of excellence’. Deputy Connolly has said that waiting lists for surgeries were extraordinarily high in the first place and despite repeated requests the figures for cancelled surgeries have not been made available.
Deputy Connolly questioned how this situation could be allowed to persist for over a month with no intervention from the Minister and has asked the Minister to confirm without delay the contingency plan in place; when the theatres will be reopened; how long patients will have to wait for their surgeries.
In response to her question it was confirmed that the Minister for Health had asked the HSE to produce a contingency plan, that he had asked the HSE to contact Deputy Connolly directly in relation to her specific questions, and further that the Minister of State for Health Deputy Jim Daly was to visit in Galway on Monday, 2nd October, in relation to a number of matters, including Merlin Park, which he did. Unfortunately, there has been no statement since this visit from either the Minister or Minister of State and no clarification on the status of the proposed contingency plan to deal with the emergency. Deputy Connolly is still awaiting the details of the number of cancelled surgeries, the number of patients awaiting surgery, the period of time they are waiting, and the specifics of the contingency plan.