August 4, 2021

Building contractor for new Waterford mortuary unit to be confirmed in next two weeks

A building contractor for the new mortuary at University Hospital Waterford (UHW) is expected to be confirmed within the next two weeks.

Last April, shocking revelations of conditions at the existing mortuary unit made national headlines. In a letter sent to the chief executive of the South and South West Hospital Group (SSWHG), four consultants at UHW detailed how bodies were left on trolleys, leaking bodily fluids onto corridors. They also described how conditions at the unit were so bad that families were forced to bury loved one in closed coffins.

A review is currently taking place into conditions at the mortuary unit. A report on the matter is due to be published next month.

There had been widespread specaultion locally that the construction of the new mortuary unit would be delayed because of cost overruns.

However, in response to a query to Health Minister Simon Harris from Waterford Fine Gael councillor John Cummins, the Department of Health insisted a tender for the contract would be issued within the next fortnight.

The Department of Health said: “HSE Estates expect to receive the request to approve the award of the contract in the next two weeks. From the outline information provided to HSE Estates they expect to be in a position to approve the award of the contract.

“Prior to going to tender the scope of the project was reviewed at hospital level and the hospital are satisfied that the proposed new facility is capable of dealing with current and future predicated levels of activity.”

Welcoming the news, Cllr Cummins said: “I expect the award of contract to be issued in the coming weeks which is obviously positive news for University Hospital Waterford,  the consultants that have had to operate in sub-standard facilities and those unfortunate families that have to avail of its services.”

The Waterford General Election candidate said while the prices are above the pre-tender cost price, they are “within the expected parameters”.

He added: “There is no question UHW has and continues to face enormous challenges; however, I am committed to ensuring these are addressed as a matter of priority.”

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