THE exact locations for the country’s three new elective hospitals, set to be developed in Cork, Dublin, and Galway, are expected to be announced during the week.
The announcement is expected to be one of several this month designed to restore confidence in Sláintecare reforms for the health service following a series of resignations among those leading the process.
Speaking to The Echo, Fine Gael spokesman on health, Cork North-Central TD Colm Burke, said he understands Cork’s new elective hospital will be for day procedures only, with no in-patients’ beds.
“I’m going to be very disappointed if it is going to be a day facility,” he said.
“A day facility isn’t suitable for doing, say, for example, hip operations or knee operations — that’s two areas that are gone automatically.”
Mr Burke said that the elective hospital for Cork should be a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week facility and that it should be able to cater for both daycare procedures and procedures that require in-patient care.
“People can’t understand why there are such long waiting lists but the problem is we just physically do not have the infrastructure,” he said.
He said an increased number of in-patient beds is vital given Cork’s growing population.
“The last census showed that the total population of Cork city and county was 542,000.
“The likelihood now is that we’re probably touching on 600,000,” he said, adding that “serious long-term planning” is needed for healthcare.
“The other thing that’s happening to consultants is that if you’re not able to do a huge number of operations in a particular year, you can lose your skillset very fast and that’s why you see an awful lot of consultants who want to get into private hospitals because they want to keep up their skillset.
“They don’t get the operating time, there isn’t the beds there in the public hospitals because we haven’t put the money into infrastructure.
“The infrastructure is facilities where operations can be done and where there are beds to care for patients afterwards,” said Mr Burke.