The health minister has been urged to halt a change of name for the group of public hospitals in the west.
It is the seventh name change for at least one of the hospitals in just eight years, Independent Dáil Deputy Noel Grealish said.
He described as “ludicrous” the initial €24,000 cost of changing the name of the West/North West Hospitals Group to Saolta University Health Care Group.
The group comprises University Hospital Galway, Merlin Park Hospital, Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe, Roscommon County Hospital, Mayo Hospital, Sligo Hospital, and Letterkenny Hospital.
Brand identity consultants BFK were chosen to rename the group following a tendering process which got under way in January.
But yesterday, Mr Grealish demanded that Health Minister Leo Varadkar intervene to order the scrapping of the new name and warned the entire re-branding process would ultimately cost hundreds of thousands of euro.
“This is a complete waste of taxpayers’ money at a time when the Galway hospital [UHG] has one of the longest waiting lists for surgery in the country and has people on trolleys awaiting admission every day of the week,” he said.
He pointed out that what started out as the Regional Hospital Galway had since become University College Hospital Galway and later University Hospital Galway. Then it was grouped with Merlin Park to become the Galway University Hospitals before becoming Galway and Roscommon University Hospitals Group. Finally, the West/North West Hospitals Group emerged last year.
Mr Grealish added: “The €24,000 will only cover the cost of consultants hired to come up with the new name and it will then cost an unknown amount of money to print new stationery, business cards etc, change signs and change all communications material for the hospitals.
“This move will not improve the health of patients one bit and it is simply bureaucracy gone mad.”
He has tabled a Dáil question to Mr Varadkar urging him to halt the name change, seeking to establish who sanctioned the outlay and asking the minister if he approved it.
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