Mercy University Hospital (MUH) in Cork, Ireland, has officially opened a €22m ($24m) expansion featuring operating theatres designed for robotic surgery.

The three-storey Roche Building includes two advanced operating theatres, one of which is a hybrid theatre.

It is named after the late Sister Laurentia Roche, who was the last matron of the Mercy Hospital.

The two operating theatres are intended to facilitate robotic surgery in the near future, which is expected to reduce hospital stays and cause fewer complications.

The hybrid theatre is designed to enhance procedure safety and effectiveness by combining a traditional operating room with an image-guided interventional suite.

It is the third hybrid operating theatre opened in Ireland to date.

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Mercy University Hospital CEO Anne Coyle said: “The two operating theatres are replacements for out-of-date facilities.

“They will have a positive impact on patient outcomes and experiences, and we plan to provide additional theatre capacity with the refurbishment of the old theatres,

The 30-bed development includes 12 single rooms, an 18-bed ward and support facilities on each floor.

These are designed to cater to patients with various needs, including those with Covid-19 and mobility issues, according to EchoLive.ie.

The project has tripled the hospital’s oxygen storage capacity.

MUH chairman Neil O’Carroll said: “This project has seen the largest capital investment received by the hospital for some time with a project cost, including construction, design team fees, equipping, contingency and other costs, of €22.38m.

“In addition to the Roche Building housing extra beds and theatres, the project tripled the hospital’s oxygen storage capacity.

“Future-proofing of medical gas provision was one of the key items identified by the HSE during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Mercy University Hospital currently treats more than 135,000 patients a year and employs more than 1,500 staff in total.

The hospital has an annual budget of more than €147m.