No overnight beds to be provided in proposed Cork elective hospital

No overnight beds to be provided in proposed Cork elective hospital

Deputy Secretary of the Sláintecare Implementation Programme, Laura Magahy, told Mr Burke that in looking for a site for the new hospital, they are seeking one which is large enough to host not only the elective ambulatory hospital but a further inpatient and overnight stay hospital down the line.

No overnight beds are set to come on stream as part of the proposed new elective hospital for Cork.

It has been earmarked to operate six days per week, 50 weeks of the year.

Cork North Central TD and Fine Gael spokesperson on health Colm Burke questioned Sláintecare officials on the proposals when they came before the Oireachtas Health Committee this week.

Deputy Secretary of the Sláintecare Implementation Programme, Laura Magahy, told Mr Burke that in looking for a site for the new hospital, they are seeking one which is large enough to host not only the elective ambulatory hospital but a further inpatient and overnight stay hospital down the line.

Regarding the potential location of the new facility, Ms Magahy said there was a public callout for sites in the last couple of weeks. The closing date was on Friday.

“The callout includes HSE sites, Land Development Agency sites, and indeed private sites, and there will be an evaluation process now which is to look at what’s the best site, what’s the best value site, and to make sure that the sites are big enough as well for future development,” she said.

However, Mr Burke queried whether those requiring hip or knee operations, or those with underlying issues who require surgery, would be suitable candidates for the initial new elective hospital. A short stay in hospital is usually to be expected with such surgeries.

Fine Gael TD Colm Burke wearing a facemask at Leinster House on Kildare Street, Dublin. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins
Fine Gael TD Colm Burke wearing a facemask at Leinster House on Kildare Street, Dublin. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

Ms Magahy said: “The elective ambulatory project, which is the one that we’ve been pursuing, looks at very simple day surgery, in and out - things that won’t be delayed or cancelled.

“It is designed specifically for minor surgeries and simple procedures that can be done, things that are getting cancelled at the moment - things that are really comprising most of our waiting lists.

“These are large elective centres - one in Dublin, one in Cork and one in Galway - that will be able to facilitate thousands and thousands of people who are waiting.” 

However, Mr Burke said this could result in just a small number of people actually being able to avail of the facility. He raised concerns that someone with diabetes, for example, wouldn't be able to avail of day surgery there for something unrelated to diabetes. Mr Burke said that having spoken to consultants, this would not be possible.

“If you have a patient who has an underlying condition, if they’re going in for a minor medical procedure for a day hospital, the advice is this will not be a suitable facility,” he said.

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