Clare Health Committee Member Confident Pre-Construction Works Will Speed Up Delivery Of Extra Capacity At UHL

Photo (c) Alan Place

Clare’s Fine Gael Senator is expressing confidence for the timely and efficient delivery of a significant bed capacity increase at University Hospital Limerick.

Construction of an initial new 96 bed unit is currently underway on top of the existing Emergency Department & Dialysis unit which up completion in the latter half of 2024 will increase capacity in real terms by 48 beds.

Last night, however Minister For Health, Stephen Donnelly announced that the HSE is making arrangements to expedite enabling works aimed at progressing the development of two further 96 bed blocks under the UHL Campus Masterplan.


Ennistymon based Senator Martin Conway who is also his party’s spokesperson on Health has been telling Clare FM’s Daragh Dolan that the substantial preparatory works will enable the quickest delivery of such a facility seen in some time.

You can listen to the full interview below.

The UHL Group has released a statement welcoming the development.

UL Hospitals Group welcomes the commitment by the HSE and Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly to accelerate the next phase of development of infrastructure at University Hospital Limerick.

This next phase of additional works will, pending planning permission approval, be carried out directly adjacent to the 96-bed block currently under construction at UHL, and create the lower part of the next block over which the proposed second 96-bed block can be developed.

Minister Donnelly said this acceleration of the proposed enabling works affirmed the Government’s commitment to how healthcare is delivered in Ireland, as part of the largest increase in national hospital bed capacity in the HSE’s history.

Discussions are continuing, led by HSE Capital & Estates, on the logistics, phasing, and timelines for the additional works alongside the ongoing development of the first 96-bed block.  

It is expected that an application for planning permission will be finalised in the coming months for the works, which will include extensions to the two-storey underground car park, and to the ground-floor and first-floor of the building that houses the hospital’s Critical Care Block, Emergency Department and Renal Services.

The HSE is also preparing plans for the subsequent phase of capital works, which will include the construction and fit-out of the second 96-bed block – four 24-bed inpatient wards.

The CEO of UL Hospitals Group, Prof Colette Cowan, said she was delighted to welcome the Minister’s announcement, and declared that the ultimate delivery of the second block would go a significant way towards addressing the well documented shortfall of inpatient bed capacity in UHL and the Midwest region.

“I’m delighted at the Minister for Health’s announcement, and the acceleration of these crucial enabling works that will pave the way for development of the second 96-bed block proposed as part of the UHL Site Masterplan. I thank Minister Donnelly, and indeed the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, for their continued support for and commitment to the delivery of additional bed capacity for the UHL site.”

Prof Cowan added: “The announcement is particularly welcome at a time when contractors are making great progress on the first 96-bed block, which was formally launched by the Minister last September. That development will not be sufficient in itself to address our historic shortfall in bed capacity, so this latest announcement is a significant step forward, and we will work with HSE Capital & Estates and national leadership to progress the various planning, procurement and capital funding approvals necessary to ultimately create the capacity that will meet the healthcare needs of the people of the Midwest.”