I welcome the opportunity to update the House on this capital development project at the Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar.
The Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar is a model 3 hospital delivering a 24-7 emergency department, general surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, special care baby unit, critical care and general medicine, including regional stroke thrombolysis, alongside a range of local and regional services, on an inpatient, day case and outpatient basis. The catchment area for the hospital includes patients residing in Westmeath, Longford and the greater midlands area. The significant population increase in the midlands, coupled with other factors such as ageing demographic pressures, has placed significant additional demands on the hospital.
The provision of a new MRI scanner is included in the proposed new extension of the existing radiology department there. A design team has been engaged and planning permission has been granted for the proposed extension to the radiology department. The development requires the demolition of an existing building on the site. This building accommodates ambulance staff, and options to accommodate the ambulance staff elsewhere temporarily to enable the MRI project to progress are being explored.
I understand that the Friends of Mullingar Hospital have completed substantial fundraising in support of the MRI scanner and I acknowledge their significant contribution. The Deputy illustrated that very clearly in his contribution.
The provision of a new MRI scanner at the Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar was included in the national development plan, NDP, announced last year as part of the Project Ireland 2040 policy initiative. The NDP provides €10.9 billion for health capital developments across the country, including both national programmes and individual projects, across acute, primary and social care. The delivery of NDP projects and programmes, including developments in Mullingar, will result in healthcare facilities that allow for implementation of new models of care and for delivery of services in high-quality modern facilities.
My Department and the HSE are currently engaged in a process to finalise the HSE capital plan for 2020. Funding for the proposed extension to the radiology department at the Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar, including accommodation for the second MRI scanner, has been included in the draft plan. The capital plan will determine which projects can progress in 2020 and beyond, having regard to the total available capital funding and the relevant priority of each project. Once the HSE has finalised its capital plan for 2020, it will then be submitted to the Minister for consideration.
The delivery of capital projects is a dynamic process and is subject to the successful completion of the various approval stages, which can impact on the timeline for delivery. All health capital projects currently at various stages of development, such as projects at the Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar, are included as part of this process.