THE HSE has confirmed that it has looked at Curraheen as a location for a new acute hospital for Cork but that no firm decision has been made yet.
At a meeting of the Southern Regional Health Forum, senior HSE official Dr Gerard O’Callaghan said:
“Many locations have been considered, including a UCC site in Curraheen. However, no decision has been taken as to where a new hospital might be built.” “A working group recently looked at site options for a new hospital but did not come to any decision regarding an optimal location,” he added.
City councillor and local GP John Sheehan had requested an outline from the HSE about its plans for the proposed new hospital for Cork City, possibly to be located in Glanmire, the Docklands, Curraheen or the surrounding areas.
The community and patients must be involved in the consultation process for the facility, he said.
“We need to be involved with the discussion. For example there are lots of potential locations but we have to look in the context of balance and what’s best for the city.” Cllr Sheehan also raised the issue of the hospital’s ownership in the light of the recent debate surrounding the ownership of the new National Maternity Hospital in Dublin by the Sisters of Charity.
“There are lots of issues to consider and every group will have their own issue,” said Dr Sheehan.
Discussions about the hospital are ongoing between the HSE, voluntary hospitals and University College Cork (UCC), South/South West hospital group chief operations officer, Dr Gerard O’Callaghan said.
The HSE estates department says the site must at least be 50 acres but preferably 100 acres, within a reasonable distance of Cork University Hospital, have sufficient parking spaces and access via public transport.
The site should also have the potential for development to be carried out on a phased basis.
“The bottom line is, hard and fast decisions have to be made,” Dr Gerard O’Callaghan said adding that there was no definite plan at this stage.
“It is disappointing that no definite plan has been put in place,” Cllr Sheehan said, speaking after the meeting.
“There’s clearly a need. The campus in CUH is full and the Mercy is looking at its own development plan and they need to know what’s happening.” “When you take for example the Save the Lee campaign, what we have here is the public being brought in at a late stage. We need to listen to people’s voices and their input rather than the HSE coming up with a plan and we’ve to knock it.”