Thursday, 29 April 2021
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
Deputy Brendan Smith has put it well. Detailed plans have been drawn up for a modern unit. Unfortunately, the current infrastructure will not meet HIQA's standards in future. Investment is essential. The hospital has a tremendous record. It breaks even every year and sees a significant throughput. Its figures are the envy of other hospitals within the health service. We can make a dramatic impact on the waiting list for orthopaedic surgery by investing in Cappagh hospital. It has the necessary space, which is something other hospital sites do not have. I saw its high-dependency unit on Tuesday morning. It is old-fashioned and not fit for purpose. The hospital's single-bed units are not fit for purpose either. An old building, the hospital used to be a convent.
It needs significant investment. We have a golden opportunity to reduce waiting lists. As Deputy Brendan Smith said, it is galling for all of us when people come to us and we cannot get them the operations they urgently need.
I appeal to the Minister of State and I know her heart is in this. We have an opportunity to work with Cappagh, which is the national centre for orthopaedic surgery. It has the plans there. We can use the window of opportunity provided by the Covid pandemic to get planning permission through in double quick time and we should not let that opportunity pass. A modular unit can be put up very quickly. It should stand as a monument to us all, showing we did something to reduce the significant waiting lists. It can be done but not at great cost to the Exchequer. A total of €70 million would deliver what we want to deliver in Cappagh, and it would be a great achievement for the Government, of which I am proud to be a member.