'Give us 24/7 cover': Welcome for new Cork hospital plan but concerns raised

'Give us 24/7 cover': Welcome for new Cork hospital plan but concerns raised

Construction is set to get under way on the new elective hospital for Cork by 2023, according to the Sláintecare Implementation Strategy & Action Plan 2021-23.

CONSTRUCTION is set to get under way on the new elective hospital for Cork by 2023, according to the Sláintecare Implementation Strategy & Action Plan 2021-23 launched this week.

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.

Cover needed seven days a week

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. 

"However, the new proposal for a day hospital is not taking into account the current lack of capacity in hospitals in Cork.”

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.”

Glanmire site option 

Cork GP and former lord mayor John Sheehan agreed that the Sarsfield Court site in Glanmire would be a good fit for the new facility.

“It fits the criteria laid out by Sláintecare and you can’t put everything on the one end of the city,” he said.

The Fianna Fáil councillor also welcomed the plans for the hospital, but said there was some clarity needed regarding the functionality and practicalities of the project.

“Ideally it would be a fully serviced hospital, taking on the work of the other hospitals, otherwise there is a danger of a duplication of services." 

A spokesperson for the Taoiseach said the plan for a new elective hospital in Cork was welcome news that would “significantly shorten waiting lists”.

“The new elective hospital in Cork is hugely welcome and will be a vital part of the Sláintecare action plan. 

"The aim is to put the needs of the patient at the centre of the health system and this hospital will help to significantly shorten waiting lists in Cork by providing the right care at the right place at the right time.”

Meanwhile, Labour TD Seán Sherlock said he would await the implementation of the Sláintecare plan in order to assess the benefit of the scheme.

Proof in delivery 

“The proof of this plan will be rooted in delivery. We can have as many plans and relaunches as we like but, unless this new chapter in healthcare really delivers for patients and families, and reduces waiting lists in a holistic manner, then we will be back to the drawing board before long,” he said.

This week the Government approved the Sláintecare Implementation Strategy & Action Plan 2021-23, with funding of €3.69bn over three years announced.

The Sláintecare plan also aims to reduce waiting times across a number of sectors, with a focus on achieving a 12-week maximum for an inpatient procedure, 10 weeks for an outpatient appointment, 10 days for a diagnostics test, and a maximum four-hour waiting time in an emergency department.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more