THERE have been demands issued for the opening of an idle operating theatre at Cork University Maternity Hospital that has remained empty ever since the hospital opened 2007.
Cork South-Central TD Michael McGrath highlighted the urgency of the situation, given gynaecology waiting lists at the hospital.
A total of 444 people on the CUMH gynaecology waiting list were waiting up to 18 months or longer for appointments as of February 28 of this year.
Mr McGrath acknowledged that progress has been made, but stressed that women will lack the full benefit of advancements without additional surgical capacity.
“The women of Cork and beyond won’t get the full value of that work if additional surgical capacity is not added at the hospital,” he said.
“We don’t want a situation where women are just pushed from the outpatient waiting list to the surgery waiting list.”
“It is both shocking and extraordinary to think that the theatre — which is badly needed — has been left lying empty since the hospital opened in 2007.”
Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and clinical director of the Maternity Directorate South/Southwest Hospital Group, John R. Higgins, responded to Mr McGrath saying that based on their budget allocation, they were not in a position to open the second gynaecology theatre in 2018.
However, he said they have continued to reduce outpatient waiting lists in 2018.
“When the funding, signed off by Minister Harris in the gynaecology business case, is allocated, it will allow us to open the second theatre which has been lying idle since the CUMH opened in 2007,” Professor Higgins said.