'A great day for Kilkenny': Work begins on St Luke's 72-bed ward and MRI unit

Long-awaited project will see new €30m five-storey block, and a unit to house MRI scanner

Sam Matthews

Reporter:

Sam Matthews

Email:

sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie

KILKENNY

Work under way at St Luke's Hospital

Construction has begun on a new 72-bed ward block at St Luke's Hospital in Kilkenny, as well as - at last - a unit to house the long-awaited MRI scanner for the local hospital.

The new €30 million ward block project was included in the Health Service Executive 2020 Capital Programme and has been granted capital allocation for 2020. Ground has been broken on-site, and its expected to be completed sometime in the fourth quarter of 2021.

A statement from the Ireland East Hospital Group said the modular build and the scanner "will contribute greatly towards improved service for patients and the single rooms will benefit infection control measures in preventing the spread of infectious diseases".

The new MRI unit at the hospital is expected to cost €3.750 million. The Friends of St Luke’s Hospital, through hard work and lengthy fund raising efforts, are contributing €250,000 towards the cost of the scanner.

The Chairman of the Friends of St Luke's Declan McCann has hailed the start of work as 'a great day', after years of promises and false dawns.

Mr McCann says the €30 million five-storey, 72-bed ward will replace the 'Florence Nightingale' type units. The new ward will be single-occupant rooms, which are superior in terms of disease control. He says a further €2 million is to be spent on other areas in the hospital to improve capacity for disease prevention and for different purposes including space for swabbing. Mr McCann said the hospital had treated around 150 Covid patients so far.

"It's a great week for the hospital and a vote of confidence in the staff there," said Mr McCann.

"It's a very positive step and great for morale for everyone involved. Especially after so long. There have been many false starts, and it is a great day. We are delighted - it's brilliant news.

"We would also like to express our thanks to all the people in Kilkenny and Carlow who supported us in the campaign. There will be further fundraising work for other projects as they are identified.