PLANS to build a new elective hospital on the Southside of Cork have been criticised by Cork City North West councillor Fiona Ryan.
The Solidarity councillor said the recently published report by commercial property consultants Quinn Agnew carried out on behalf of Sláintecare raised a lot of “red flags”.
According to the report, the Sláintecare strategy is to situate the new elective hospital in close proximity to existing major hospitals, such as CUH, in order to allow clinicians to work across elective and general hospitals.
Sites west of the city have been identified as the “more likely” options including the Cork Science and Innovation Park in Curraheen, and the Cork City FC grounds, also in Curraheen, or the Westfield Office Quarter in Ballincollig.
Speaking to The Echo, Ms Ryan said she felt there was some “kite-flying” happening.
“The question of a new hospital on the northside has been central to politics on the northside now for many years, in particular in the last two years,” she said.
“I know when I ran in the by-election it was a key question that was put to every one of us — not just the lack of a hospital on the northside, but the lack of promised infrastructure, which seems to mean that the under-resourcing of the northside will continue.”
Ms Ryan said she in no way questioned the need for a new hospital, but said that the location had to be right.
“Don’t get me wrong. We need a hospital, we need to get on with it — that is my ultimate position.”
Ms Ryan said she was “very surprised” with the sites flagged in the report.
“The fact that both sites are within walking distance of the CUH does not make sense to me,” she said.
“If you are looking at it from a demand perspective, about making sure that accessibility to healthcare isn’t consolidated in one area of the city, I think questions would definitely have to be asked now. Why not the Glanmire site, why not the Tivoli site? Why are the sites announced today more preferable?”
She said that she would be examining the report in great detail to see what data was used to reach consensus on the preferred locations.
“From what I have seen, it would appear the locations of the new elective hospital are being consciously included alongside other hospitals to allow clinicians to work across elective and general hospitals — and that seems to be prioritising expediency over demand and necessity.
“I’m very conscious of supporting a new hospital and that the focus should be to get on with it, but there are some red flags in the report today that I find very concerning.”