A planning application for an extension to the existing paediatric unit at Cork University Hospital (CUH) has been given the green light from city planners.
In December last year, the Health Service Executive (HSE) South submitted the proposals seeking permission from Cork City Council to build a five-storey extension to the existing paediatric unit at the hospital.
The application said the proposed development would provide over 80 additional paediatric in-patient beds, high dependency units, palliative care suites, haematology bed spaces, procedure rooms, operating theatres and diagnostic facilities and would also include ancillary healthcare staff facilities.
The application also sought permission for the refurbishment of level one of the existing paediatric unit to accommodate allied health professional services and a paediatric assessment unit.
In the architect’s design report, prepared by Avanti Architects, it states that phases two and three of the development would be an extension to the phase one building at the northern side of the CUH campus and would be contained in a single new building.
The phase two accommodation includes inpatient ward accommodation over three floors and that phase three includes theatres and diagnostics.
The completed phase one contains ambulatory clinical accommodation and support spaces.
The area of the new build is approximately 12,800sqm.
Outlying the need for the extension, the design report says that the physical facilities in Cork “are not currently adequate” and that it is “timely” for the HSE South to develop phases two and three with facilities “appropriate for the secondary and tertiary care and fit for 21st-century healthcare in children”.
“At present, this care is currently being provided at both Cork University Hospital (CUH) and Mercy University Hospital (MUH) Paediatric Units in facilities that are far inferior to current acceptable standards,” it adds.
It is hoped that, once developed, the expanded facilities will also alleviate pressure from healthcare services in Dublin.
“The development of a modern, fit-for-purpose facility in Cork will repatriate many more ‘medical pilgrims’ from overburdened Dublin services to equivalent facilities in Cork.
“This will reduce difficulties with access to tertiary services in Dublin for those who really need it, and will allow more children to have treatments, both medical and surgical in an equivalent paediatric facility closer to home,” the report notes.
Cork City Council requested further information before making a decision on the proposals which resulted in a number of changes.
One of the points raised was a request from the applicant to submit revised plans and particulars showing proposals for improved pedestrian and cycling facilities within the CUH campus grounds.
In response, the revised scheme has expanded plans for the provision of new footpath and the new layout also includes a dedicated two-way cycle lane to the north of the CUH campus connecting the new development with the existing pedestrian and bicycle entrance from Wilton Road to the east of the site.
Cork City Council has now granted conditional planning permission for the proposed extension.