John Sisk & Son has completed a new nine storey building at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin. The new wing comprises 98 new beds, including 16 new intensive care unit beds and a new home for the National Isolation Unit, which is based at the Mater. The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly officially the building.
With an overall cost of approximately €103 million, it is estimated by the State’s Health experts, that because of the fast-track approach adopted under the emergency legislation, this resulted in a saving of some €40 million for the Irish taxpayer.
This new building, to be called “The Rock Wing”, has been designed, built and delivered by Sisk on budget and in two years, under emergency legislation enacted during the first part of the Covid pandemic. In the early part of the response to Covid-19, the lack of bed capacity, particularly intensive care facilities and appropriate single bedded rooms, was identified as an issue facing many acute hospitals.
The new building at the Mater will cater for an additional 5,000 patients annually in world class facilities. All of the rooms are single rooms with ensuite facilities. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister Donnelly performed the official opening at the Mater (Thursday 20th April 2023).
Ken Aherne, Managing Director, Ireland East, John Sisk & Son said: “John Sisk & Son is proud to have delivered the Rock Wing building at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin. Thanks to the entire Sisk team, our Design team and our supply chain partners for delivering such a vital piece of healthcare infrastructure and congratulations to our client on a fabulous building. The quality and elegance of what we have delivered, in such a short program, will stand the test of time”.
He added: “Sisk has a pipeline of over €600 million in healthcare related projects across Ireland and the UK and this project is part of our growing portfolio. Sisk has recently completed a new state-of-the-art Emergency Department at University Hospital Galway. This was constructed rapidly on foot of the pressures Covid exerted on the hospital campus”.
He concluded: “We are also active on a number of other healthcare projects including University Hospital Limerick and our team is currently working on the new €190 million Bon Secours Hospital in Limerick. We will also begin a major development of a new Children’s Cancer Centre at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London later this year.”
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “I am honoured to officially open the Rock Wing in the Mater Hospital alongside Minister Stephen Donnelly. It took extraordinary commitment and hard work from all involved to produce this state-of-the-art facility in two years. The new Rock Wing will strengthen the Mater’s position as a centre of healthcare excellence in Ireland and enhance the care provided to patients from all over Ireland.
“Projects like these turn the vision of Sláintecare into reality. Ultimately, Sláintecare is about four things; making healthcare more affordable, improving access to healthcare, improving patient outcomes and reforming how healthcare is provided with a focus on the community, integration and prevention. We all know we need to fundamentally change the way we provide healthcare if we are to meet the ever-increasing needs of our growing and ageing population, not to mention the wide array of new treatments becoming available. Investment in healthcare infrastructure, like this new facility, is a big part of achieving what we want to achieve and the budget for new healthcare infrastructure now exceeds €1bn a year.”
CEO of the Mater Hospital, Alan Sharp said: “It is with great pride that we are officially opening the Rock Wing today, named after our late colleague Sr. Margherita Rock, who dedicated her life to caring for others and is a former chairperson of the Mater Hospital Board. It is a testament to the spirit of partnership, from building contractors, to architects, to planners, to our own staff across the board and the HSE and Dept of Health that we have delivered this new building within two years. I know Sr. Margherita would be very proud today.”
16 of the beds in the new wing are intensive care beds, which greatly enhances the capacity of the Mater Hospital to care for the sickest patients in the country. The facilities for the National Isolation Unit, first developed in 2006 to contain any infectious disease outbreak which may hit the country, are being replaced with contemporary facilities including 12 isolation respiratory beds and two infectious isolation beds and will be completed later this year.
All of these are negative pressure rooms, in order to maintain the highest levels of infection prevention and control. Should a new pandemic emerge, the role of the National Isolation Centre will be crucial and it now has the modern facilities necessary to deal with such a scenario.
The 13,500 square metre building which is on the Eccles Street side of the Mater Building will help to future proof the hospital in the event of any new pandemics or infectious diseases outbreak or a new variant of Covid-19. At the height of the Covid pandemic, around half of all elective work at the hospital had to be postponed and the Mater outsourced urgent surgeries under the SafetyNet agreement. The new building should help in ring-fencing capacity for the care of all patients in the future. Patients will be treated in the Rock Wing from early May.