A CORK TD has said the Government must fast-track the new elective hospitals and that consideration should be given to utilising the private sector to design, build and finance the projects, with the State repaying the costs over a long-term period.
Cork North-Central TD and Fine Gael spokesperson on Health, Colm Burke said that this approach was taken in 2004 when it came to the extension of Cork City Hall.
“Private companies were given an overall plan of what the City Hall wanted so they designed, applied for planning, built and financed the extension to the City HAall and the city council is paying that back over 25 years,” he said.
“It’s a real fast track way of dealing with it.
“I actually think we should now fast-track at least one of the projects, preferably the Cork project.
“So you’d get in private enterprise to come along, put in their own architects, do a design, present it to the HSE, take on board what their issues are, go and apply for planning and build and finance it then as well so the HSE are not waiting for Government to sanction whatever the cost will be.
“I think that’s the fastest way of now doing it and I think it should be given serious consideration,” he said.
Last week, it was announced that Government has formally sanctioned the country’s three new elective hospitals set to be developed in Cork, Dublin and Galway.
Speaking in relation to the new Cork hospital, Mr Burke said the next step is to decide on a location.
“There are submissions already in on that to the HSE South/South West Hospital Group, so I would hope that we would move forward with identifying the site.
“It appears that what is announced is an elective hospital which would be day procedures and then that there would be room for manoeuvre to build a second block which would deal with in-patients. I think that is a way forward,” Mr Burke said.
He said that the Sarsfield Court site in Glanmire would be an ideal location in that sense as it has “huge capacity for further expansion and growth”.
Mr Burke said he believes Cork’s new elective hospital should ultimately be “an elective hospital for all of Munster”.
“The bigger the hospital you have, the more sub-specialisation you get, which means you have a greater level of expertise.
“That’s the whole idea of the children’s hospital in Dublin — instead of having three children’s hospitals we now have one central place there where people can sub-specialise and deal with issues, so I think long term we need to be focusing on that, not only for Cork but for Munster,” he said.