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Minister for Health opens new Saolta Radiation Oncology Centre at Galway University Hospital

Minister for Health opens new Saolta Radiation Oncology Centre at Galway University Hospital

  • new radiation oncology centre delivered at a cost of €70.7 million as part of National Cancer Strategy is the largest infrastructure development to date on UHG campus
  • new centre will provide greater capacity for radiation therapy treatment and the ability to provide new sophisticated radiation therapy treatments in Galway for the first time
  • funding provided in 2021 and 2022 supported the recruitment of 35 additional staff to radiation oncology services in Galway

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly today opened the Saolta Radiation Oncology Centre at Galway University Hospital (GUH). This new radiation oncology centre began to accept patients in Q2 2023, with today marking the official opening of the facility.

This new facility comprises a three-story radiation oncology centre at GUH and will provide state of the art treatment for radiotherapy patients in the West of Ireland going forward, improving waiting times and ensuring equal access to cutting edge therapies for patients throughout Ireland.

Opening the new centre, Minister Donnelly said:

"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. 60% of all patients with cancer may require radiation therapy at some point, and the incidence of cancer nationally is expected to double by 2045 as our population gets older.

"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. Alongside the radiation oncology unit in Cork University Hospital, this centre will provide enormous benefits for patients offering a comprehensive range of cancer treatment programmes."

Regarding additional developments in Galway, Minister Donnelly continued:

"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."

Welcoming the opening of the new centre, Bernard Gloster, Health Service Executive (HSE) CEO, said:

"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.

"I want to recognise and acknowledge the huge amount of work that has taken place over many years to bring us to today. I look forward to this being one of many Capital Developments in Galway and the Saolta group in the coming years."


  • Galway University Hospital comprises the University Hospital Galway (UHG) and the Merlin Park University Hospital campuses
  • the annual budget allocation for Galway University Hospital has increased by €77.8 million since 2019 to just over €441.7 million for 2023
  • the workforce for University Hospital grew by 606 staff, between December 2020 and July 2023 to a total of 4,393 staff
  • the overall cost for the centre was €70.7 million, including construction costs and equipment
  • €40 million additional funding for national cancer services provided in 2021 and 2022 supported the recruitment of 35 additional staff across a range of specialties to radiation oncology services in Galway
  • the new radiation oncology centre is the largest infrastructure development so far on the UHG campus. The newly built 8,000m2 radiotherapy unit will lead to an increase in capacity for radiotherapy treatments. The new technology also significantly increases the ability to accurately target and treat tumours
  • the new three-storey building includes six radiotherapy treatment vaults using the most advanced linear accelerator technology. These provide improved imaging and allowing greater precision and accuracy in targeting disease
  • these machines can deliver stereotactic radiotherapy treatment which is a highly focused technique delivering ultra-precise treatment to tumours. This advancement will ensure that patients will no longer have to travel to Dublin for this treatment
  • a new brachytherapy suite has been built containing a state-of-the art surgical theatre and treatment rooms, along with a new superficial suite for skin treatments. The centre also includes a new radiation oncology outpatient suite with 12 clinic rooms and facilities for patient review and support
  • the new centre will welcome the installation of the country’s first MRI-RT simulator next year. This is an MRI scanner specifically for the needs of Radiation Oncology patients, it allows better soft tissue definition and again improves the precision in targeting the disease
  • a dedicated ambulatory care area will allow for the expansion of the current nursing service to patients which will facilitate patients to stay out of hospital and remain at home for their treatment. There is now also space for allied health professions which will enable the expansion of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, social work, and speech and language therapy to the patients