Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, opened the Saolta Radiation Oncology Centre at Galway University Hospital (GUH) on 20 October. This new radiation oncology centre began to accept patients in Q2 2023, with October 20 marking the official opening of the facility.
This new centre brings huge improvement to the hospitals as the annual budget allocation for GUH has increased by €77.8 million since 2019 to just over €441.7 million for 2023.
The workforce for hospital grew by 606 staff, meaning a current total of 4,393 workers. This increase in staff was funded mainly by €40 million additional funding for national cancer services provided in 2021 and 2022 and supported the recruitment of 35 additional staff across a range of specialties to radiation oncology services in Galway.
The overall cost for the centre was €70.7 million, including construction costs and equipment.
The three-story centre located at UHG aims to provide state of the art treatment and it is hoped that the new centre will improve waiting times and ensuring equal access to cutting edge therapies for patients throughout Ireland.
Most have welcomed this development. Upon the announcement the Minister for Health stated; “This centre is the result of a commitment set out in our National Cancer Strategy to expand radiation oncology facilities in Galway, Cork and Dublin. It is important that we build additional capacity in our radiation oncology centres to deal with increased demand.
“This centre was delivered as part of our National Plan for Radiation Oncology. This plan looks at our radiation oncology services in a strategic way and ensures that the vision for these large projects can be delivered.
“Further investment and major developments are planned in Galway. This includes a new Emergency Department (ED) and a Women and Children’s block, which will deliver modern fit-for-purpose facilities for emergency care, maternity, paediatrics, and gynaecology.
“A new Surgical Hub is also planned, which will improve waiting times for patients. A new cancer centre for Galway was featured in the National Development Plan and is currently at the design feasibility stage under the HSE Capital Plan, to be progressed further next year.”
As well as this Bernard Closter, Health Service CEO, attended the opening of the centre and stated; “This is a critical development which will further support the delivery of cancer services in the West and Northwest and is a very significant investment in cancer services in the region. This new centre will ensure that patients receive their treatment in a state of the art, modern purpose-built facility that has been developed in a way to allow for future expansion. This new facility will allow the cancer team in Saolta increase the range of treatments, staffing and capacity over time.”