138 new hospital beds confirmed for Cork

138 new hospital beds confirmed for Cork

It has been confirmed to The Echo that the Mercy University Hospital will receive a new 30-bed ward, consisting of all single rooms to provide additional capacity

THE Government has given the green light for a total of 138 additional hospital beds in Cork.

It has been confirmed to The Echo that the Mercy University Hospital will receive a new 30-bed ward, consisting of all single rooms to provide additional capacity.

A new 48-bed block is also to be built at Mallow Hospital and an extension of Heather House Community Nursing Unit at St Mary’s Campus in Gurranabraher will provide for 60 additional long-stay community nursing beds.

An increase of 1,146 acute beds and an increase of 1,250 community beds were announced in Budget 2021 as part of a health budget amounting to over €22bn for 2021, the largest in the history of the State.

Mercy University Hospital will also receive two new operating theatres which are to replace existing theatres as part of the €19.83m revamp. Work on the site will commence in January 2021, with the ward set for completion in December next year and the theatres set for completion in January 2022.

Mercy University Hospital Cork.
Mercy University Hospital Cork.

Mallow General Hospital’s extension will facilitate an increase in the number of elective surgical procedures at the hospital, helping to reduce waiting lists and workload pressures on the larger hospitals in the region.

It is understood that work on the multi-million extension could start within months.

The extension of Heather House is expected to commence in January with construction of the multi-million euro project commencing later in the year.

A Government spokesperson told The Echo that the delivery of these additional beds for Cork is “very important” to Taoiseach Micheál Martin who, during Budget 2021, “reiterated how important public investment in our services would be to Ireland’s economic revival”.

“This will be an important development for health service capacity of the city as part of the biggest ever national capital expenditure plan,” the spokesperson said.

“This continues our commitment to developing a high-quality and resilient public health service for all of our people.”

Labour TD Seán Sherlock said the news of the additional beds for Mallow General Hospital is “a wonderful vote of confidence in the hospital”.

“We’ve been saying it for decades that this hospital is an excellent hospital that provides excellent care, and has excellent staff with excellent outcomes for patients,” said the Cork East TD.

Mr Sherlock said it is “wonderful news” for the people of North Cork and wider afield when the activity levels of the hospital, which are “absolutely on a par with any other secondary care facility of its kind” are considered.

Mallow General Hospital. Picture Dan Linehan
Mallow General Hospital. Picture Dan Linehan

Fine Gael health spokesman Colm Burke welcomed the news of the additional beds for Cork, but said that work must continue on delivering the new elective hospital.

The Cork North Central TD said: “I’ve been lobbying very hard over the last four years about the way the population in Cork has increased.

“We have 130,000 more people now in the Cork city and county area in the last 30 years and there hasn’t been any growth in hospital beds.

“Any new additional beds are very much welcome but it doesn’t mean that we should in any way use this as an excuse for parking the elective hospital and that’s crucial now.”

Mr Burke said it is his understanding, after engaging with Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, that there “are no hold-ups in moving on with the development of the elective hospital”.

He explained that after identifying a site for the hospital, plans, which could take “anything up to 12 months” have to be drafted before the planning process, which he said could take another 12 months, will be undergone.

“At the very earliest we wouldn’t even be starting in three years’ time, therefore, we have to make sure that the elective hospital is not in any way parked,” said Mr Burke.

However, The Echo reported last week that a feasibility study on the prospect of a new city hospital at the St Stephen’s Hospital site in Glanmire has been put on hold.

Pádraig O’Sullivan, Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North Central, expressed his disappointment on learning that this was the case, and called for it to resume as a matter of urgency.

“The site at Glanmire is ideally positioned for a new hospital as it is close to the M8,” he said. “It would ease the pressure on existing city hospitals and serve the needs of the people of Cork.”

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