University Hospital Waterford has received the "absolute go-ahead" to begin the tendering process to build a new mortuary facility.

Minister for Health Simon Harris today said he gave the hospital management the green light to begin this process, and that it will be funded from a new capital plan. 

Minister Harris said that in the meantime, a temporary refrigeration facility will arrive at the hospital on Friday, which he said he believes will end the situation of "bodies on trolleys in corridors". 

He said it is "really important that we have dignity in relation to death".

The minister told the Dáil that he understands this temporary refrigeration solution will increase the mortuary's capacity from six to 13 bodies. 

He thanked the consultants in Waterford who raised their concerns over the issues at the mortuary, saying that there is "no doubt" there is a need for a new facility, and that it is "about time we moved on it". 

Mr Harris said he believes there is a need for a review into the mortuary and that there is a need for questions to be answered in relation to how the mortuary operates. 

The minister said he wants to take a "couple of days to get this right", in terms of working out the terms of reference of the review, and who will carry it out.

Meanwhile, the Oireachtas Committee on Health is to hold a full meeting on the issues raised by a group of pathologists at the hospital over conditions at the mortuary there.

Last month it emerged that four consultants had stated that dead bodies had been left decomposing on trolleys in the corridors of the hospital mortuary.

A representative of the four consultants who made the original complaint will be invited to the meeting, which is to be held in the coming weeks, as well hospital management and Department of Health representatives.

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime, the chairman of the committee said they received correspondence from a number of public representatives from the southeast asking that the committee deal with the matter.

Dr Michael Harty said there was a unanimous decision by the committee that they should hold a full meeting on the matter.

The Clare TD said the committee will investigate how the health service deals with complaints of this nature, including how they are escalated through HSE management and how they are responded to.

He added that the committee would also investigate how this complaint, made in October 2018, did not receive a response until the end of March of this year.

"What we really need to find out is this the way that complaints are dealt with throughout the HSE in general, and in the southeast in particular," he said.

"We are all aware that frontline staff make observations, not necessarily complaints like this, about how services can be improved, how they need new staff, how they need new equipment and if this is the way that these issues are being dealt with it is quite unacceptable."

Dr Harty said the four consultants highlighted the risk to bereaved families, to staff at UHW, to the general public and to the reputation of the HSE in the southeast in general.

He also said that he had not come across such an issue before during his career as a GP.

"This is the first issue of this type that I have come across in my years of my practice. It is quite extraordinary that a health service that is struggling to look after the living is now struggling to look after those who have unfortunately passed away."

Dr Harty added that he assumes the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, did not have the full information about the controversy when he made a statement in Waterford last week.

Mr Varadkar had claimed that there was no evidence to back up the claims made and he described it as a "strange story".

The Taoiseach apologised for those remarks in a statement issued on Sunday, saying planning permission has been granted for a new mortuary at the hospital and temporary measures are being put in place in the meantime.