Who We Are and What We Do


Galway University Hospitals (GUH), incorporating University Hospital Galway and Merlin Park University Hospital, Galway, provide secondary, regional and supra-regional services for the Health Services Executive - West. It is one of the major academic teaching hospitals in Ireland and is attached to the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG). The hospitals aim to deliver high quality and equitable care for all its patients, in a safe and secure environment and to achieve excellence in clinical practice, teaching, training and research.


Why we exist

To provide excellent, safe and accessible health care, supported by teaching and research, that improve the quality of life for patients.


What we want to achieve

To be the hospital of choice for the people of Galway and beyond.


Our ideals

  • We put patients first
  • We maintain the highest standards of behaviour
  • We implement new approaches to improving the quality of health care
  • We develop our staff and promote equality of opportunity and diversity
  • We work together, involving others in the design and delivery of services
  • We act decisively to achieve important goals; doing the right things for the right reasons
  • We take pride in delivering quality and value for money services.

Our short term priorities (over the next one to two years)

  • Reducing and preventing hospital acquired infections
  • Improving the patient experience
  • Reducing waiting times for Out Patients Departments
  • Reducing Emergency Department waiting times
  • Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of our services
  • Maintaining financial balance
  • Maintaining our Whole Time Equivalent ceiling
  • Managing Performance

Our medium term priorities (over the next three to five years)

  • Service improvement and modernisation
  • Workforce development and staff engagement
  • Integration with Primary, Community and Continuing Care (PCCC) services
  • Western Area Health Networks (WAHN)

Our future

The policy set for the HSE by the Department of Health will move the current national health service from one which does things ‘to and for’ its patients, to one which works with patients to support them to meet their health needs. This requires the creation of a system which is patient-led and, which displays the following key features:


  • Patients involved in decisions about their own health care and having choices about their care
  • More personalised care
  • Empowerment of people to improve their own health
  • A service which is responsive to patients; listens, learns and takes action

A key challenge for the hospitals is to make the changes that are necessary to further improve services for the public while at the same time demonstrating value for money. This will involve difficult decisions in balancing expectations on accessibility and quality with safety and affordability.  Change is inevitable but it is vital that staff, patients, and the public are informed and involved in the design of any new arrangements.

Over the next three years the HSE will need to respond to challenges arising from:


  • The implications of system reform: Choice, Payment by Results and the increased role of the Private sector in the provision of care under the HSE.
  • Opportunities provided by advances in medical technology.
  • Changes in the profile of the local population, in particular the rise in the number of older people and the decline in birth rates.
  • The need to ensure the HSE provides high quality, safe and sustainable services within the money available. This will include maximising productivity and efficiency by getting the most from resources – money, people, facilities and equipment.
  • Sustaining improvements in dealing with existing long-standing challenges, including tackling inequalities in health and promoting better health.
  • Continuing to achieve targets on waiting and quality of health care.
  • Continuing implementation of the EU Working Time Directive by reducing junior doctors’ working hours.

Range and Scope of Services Provided

GUH provide a comprehensive range of services to emergency and elective patients on an Inpatient, Day Care and Out Patient basis across the two sites. It is a regional centre for a wide range of specialities. It is also a supra-regional centre in respect of Cardiology and Cancer and Radiotherapy Services.


Peripheral Clinics

Consultants attached to GUHs have outreach services at various locations throughout the region, including OPD clinics, oncology day ward services and day surgery services. Outreach immunology service is also provided to Sligo General Hospital. Commissioning of radiotherapy services will provide on site consultant services by radiation oncologists at Sligo General Hospital and Limerick Regional Hospital.


Emergency Care

The Emergency Department at UHG is the regional centre for accident and emergency services in the Health Service Executive -West. It treats on average 65,000 patients per annum.

Links to National University of Ireland, Galway

The hospitals have close links to the National University of Ireland, Galway.  Many members of the Medical Consultant staff hold appointments in the National University of Ireland, Galway, as Professors, Lecturers or Clinical Lecturers. The Nursing School has transferred to NUIG for Galway University Hospitals thereby forging closer links here also.

Capital Development

A major capital development programme, costing in excess of 100m has recently been completed. This development includes, Radiotherapy, Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Cardiology/Cardiac Surgery.  There is a range of minor capital developments supporting specialities such as Endocrinology, Ophthalmology and Oncology Services.