Cork’s new elective hospital is to be built at St Stephen’s Hospital in Sarsfield’s Court, Glanmire, following a decision taken at Cabinet yesterday.
The Government gave approval for the building of elective hospitals at the Sarsfield Court site and to Merlin Park in Galway, and those developments will now be brought forward to the planning phase.
The Cork hospital, which is planned to have nine theatres, seven endoscopy suites and nine minor operation rooms, is expected to provide 180,000 extra procedures, treatments and diagnostic appointments every year.
The decision was hailed by Fine Gael health spokesperson and Cork North Central TD, Colm Burke, as a major step forward for healthcare in Cork. Mr Burke had been lobbying for the hospital to be built at Sarsfield’s Court, and he said it was “incredibly gratifying” that Cabinet approved this recommendation.
“We cannot build a 500- or 600-bed hospital overnight, but the great advantage of this site is that you’re not limited, and you are unlikely to have any major planning concerns,” said Mr Burke.
Noting that Ireland’s population has increased by 1.2m over the past 20 years, Mr Burke said there was a need to supply infrastructure and services at a far faster pace.
“Now that we have chosen the site, we must move forward and ensure that it is delivered as quickly as possible,” he said.
Glanmire-based Fianna Fáil TD Pádraig O’Sullivan echoed that sentiment, saying the project needs to be brought through the planning process quickly.
“I do firmly believe that this announcement also requires us to press on with the delivery of the north ring road to service this site and improve connectivity right across the city and ensure that people from the region can access the hospital easily,” said Mr O’Sullivan.
Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould said the hospital announcement was a victory for campaigners on the northside.
“It needs to be delivered now, and it can’t be like the children’s hospital and take years and years to build; we were told it would be built by 2023, now obviously they’re not going to deliver that, but it should be delivered quickly,” said Mr Gould.
Welcoming the decision, Socialist Party TD Mick Barry said too much time had already been spent reaching this point.
“Meanwhile, the waiting lists are growing by the day,” said Mr Barry.
“No more time should be lost, this needs to be moved forward with a sense of urgency.”
The elective hospital proposed for Galway is expected to provide 175,000 additional procedures, treatments, and diagnostic appointments per year.
An announcement on a new elective hospital for Dublin is expected once a business case has been approved by the Government.
“These new elective hospitals will have a real impact on people up and down the country and I am keen that they are up and running as soon as possible,” said Health Minister Stephen Donnelly.