The campus is currently home to an acute mental health unit, an Alzheimers Unit, long-stay mental health units, and administrative and support facilities. Child and Family Agency Tusla also has a presence on the site.
Councillor Ger Keohane (IND) believes the site would be suitable for developing a number of services, such as a new A&E Department, a 24/7 suicide prevention unit, a homeless shelter and facilities for minor surgery and respite care.
The HSE began a strategic plan for the development of the campus in early 2017 and is currently carrying out reform of disability services, and is moving away from institutional models of care and service delivery to community-based, person-centred models of service.
So far in the Cork/Kerry Community Healthcare region, this reform programme has been focused in St Raphael’s Campus in Youghal and Cluain Fhionnáin in Killarney — meaning little progress has been made on the plans for St Stephen’s.
However, Cork/Kerry Community Healthcare chief officer Ger Reaney has said discussions will resume in January on expanding the facilities at the campus.
“...even though it has been delayed, it remains our intention to complete a Strategic Plan for the campus and work on this planning process will recommence in early in 2019,” he said.
“Once complete, the Strategic Plan for the campus will inform our submissions for funding to the HSE Capital Plan,” he added.
Mr Keohane said: “If you break your arm or need stitches why not bring patients to [St Stephen’s] rather than clogging up the CUH in the city?” We could have a self-contained ambulance depot up there and an A&E. In recent years there have been problems getting ambulances to Midleton and East Cork, this is the perfect area to service that.”