New hospital to be confirmed for Cork

New hospital to be confirmed for Cork
A new hospital of a similar scale of the Cork University Hospital has long been earmarked for Cork to meet our growing population. Picture: Denis Scannell

A NEW Cork hospital is to be included in the Government’s National Development Plan but there are warnings that it must have a capacity of at least 500 beds to keep pace with growing healthcare demands.

The Cabinet is finalising details of the National Development Plan ahead of its publication next week. However, it’s understood that the building of a new acute hospital in Cork will be part of the plan along with provisions for a Cork to Limerick motorway.

A new hospital is needed to cater for the ageing population and increasing health requirements that this brings.

“500 beds or more is the type of scale we need to be looking at,” said Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Health, Billy Kelleher.

More than 2,500 extra acute hospital beds, 13,000 extra residential care beds, a 48% increase in the Primary Care workforce and a 120% increase in homecare will be required in Ireland by 2031 to meet the growing healthcare demand.

“When you look at the bed capacity review and the demographics for an increasing population, it is important that the bed capacity in the new hospital is able to meet the demands,” said Deputy Kelleher.

“Cork has experienced growth in population and will continue to do so, so a new hospital with a capacity of 500 beds is needed and I would suggest even more beds than that,” added Deputy Kelleher.

The new hospital is predicted to operate in conjunction with Cork University Hospital which has a capacity of 800 beds and is expected to increase this to 1,000 beds.

Speculation has been rife that the new hospital will be built on a site in Curraheen, but Deputy Kelleher said that is not a matter for politicians.

“What’s important for us is to ensure that plans for the hospital are included in the Development Plan and that we get a commitment from government on it,” he said.

“As for the actual site, that is a matter for the logistics and planning departments in charge of the new hospital.

Tanaiste Simon Coveney said he is “confident that a significant package for Cork has been secured.”

He added that “next week will see an exciting announcement for the country and Cork will be an important part of that.”

Fine Gael Senator Colm Burke said: “Cork will be one of the biggest areas of growth outside of Dublin over the next few years and we have already seen significant growth.

“We need to focus on healthcare, education and industry.

“We can’t have people coming into Cork if we don’t have adequate facilities for them,” he added.

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