THE committee tasked with locating a site for Cork’s new general hospital is yet to meet, almost eight months after it was selected.
Tánasite Simon Coveney revealed in March that a team had been selected to assess possible locations for the general hospital. He said he wanted a decision by mid-summer.
Two new hospitals, a general, which has been allocated €250m, and an elective, have been earmarked for Cork as part of the Ireland 2040 plan.
However, the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed to the Evening Echo that no decision has been made in relation to a site. Cork Senator Colm Burke (FG) revealed that the committee tasked with doing so has not even met.
The news comes amid an ever-worsening trolley crisis in Ireland's hospitals. The INMO's monthly trolley watch figures showed that 7,765 people were on trolleys in Ireland in September, 781 of which were in CUH, the highest figure ever recorded at the Cork hospital.
Senator Burke, who is not a member of the committee, said he is very concerned at the delays and intends on raising the issue with the Minister of Health Simon Harris.
“It is clear-cut that there is to be a new hospital for Cork,” he said.
“The population of Cork has grown by 130,000 over the last 30 years and no new beds have been opened in that period of time and we now need to prioritise identifying the new site.
“I’m extremely disappointed that nothing has been done at a local level by the HSE in terms of pushing this project on,” he added.
A statement from the Department of Health said that the National Development Plan which includes the Cork hospitals and was announced earlier this year, “includes many significant new programmes and projects, particularly in relation to additional capacity and the development of three elective only facilities.”
“This will involve close co-operation between the various line divisions of the Department, HSE, Hospital Groups and CHOs.”
Health Minister Simon Harris confirmed in April that no timeline has been established yet for the new elective only hospital in Cork.
The Minister visited an elective only hospital in Glasgow last week to assess its impact.