While that news has been broadly welcomed, no site for the development has yet been identified, and local politicians have also called for the hospital to operate 24/7 — something that is not currently planned.
According to the new strategy, it is hoped that the planning permission, fire certification, and tender stages will be completed with construction work under way by 2023 on new elective hospitals in Dublin, Cork, and Galway.
Solidarity TD Mick Barry said the new hospital was needed, but was needed full-time.
“Cork needs this new elective hospital but it can’t be a 300 days a year hospital — it has to seven days a week right through the year,” he said.
This was echoed by Fine Gael’s Colm Burke, who has frequently called for clarity on the progress of the proposed facility. He believes the hospital “should be able to cater for both daycare procedures and also procedures that require inpatient care”.
“The population of Cork city and county has increased from 410,000 to 542,000 over the last 25 years,” Mr Burke said.
“I fully accept that many procedures which previously required the patient to be in hospital for three to four days are now daycare procedures.
In relation to the location of the new hospital, Mr Burke said additional land did not need to be purchased, as the HSE “are already the owner of land at Sarsfield Court on the eastern side of Cork City, and this site should be considered for development.”