A major new unit costing €13m is to be built at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick.
The unit will offer state of the art facilities to Cystic Fibrosis patients, patients with Parkinson's and women with breast cancer.
It is estimated the unit will help over 12,000 patients across Limerick, Tipperary and Clare who suffer with CF, neurological and stroke disorders, breast cancer, and dermatology complaints.
A formal sod turning ceremony took place at the hospital today with Finance Minister Michael Noonan, along with representatives of the Mid-Western Hospitals Development Trust, the Cystic Fibrosis Association and the Parkinson's Association of Ireland.
The unit is being funded by the JP McManus Pro-Am committee, along with funding carried out by the organisations themselves.
The new six-storey unit is due to be completed in 2014, and will provide specialist services such as nine specially equipped isolated rooms for patients with CF, who currently have just three dedicated rooms in the medical ward of the hospital.
It will also provide a six-bed acute stroke unit, as well as a specially equipped unit for people with Parkinson's.
It will provide a symptomatic breast unit, which will provide all the necessary diagnostic and treatment facilities for woman with breast cancer, such as clinic rooms, mammography and ultrasound rooms and prosthesis fitting rooms.
Owen Kirby Chair of the Tipperary, Limerick and Clare CF branch said the capacity and facilities of the new unit will certainly improve the quality and longevity of life for CF sufferers, many who have to travel long distances to get appropriate treatment.