A CORK TD has questioned the location of a new surgical hub for Cork, suggesting it should be located away from the “chaos” of Cork University Hospital (CUH).
Fine Gael health spokesperson Colm Burke was speaking during a recent meeting of the Joint Committee on Health where he raised concerns about the current situation at the busy hospital.
Plans to progress proposals to develop five surgical hubs in Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford, and Dublin as part of an overall plan aimed at reducing waiting lists were announced by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly last year.
The five new hubs which will cost between €90m to €100m will be based on a model at Tallaght University Hospital in Dublin, where a commercial building nearby was retrofitted and converted into a surgical hub.
Speaking during the meeting, Mr Burke said: “We’re now talking about putting the surgical hub into CUH. It’s chaos there at the moment as regards even simple things like trying to get in there now is a challenge, and we’re talking about putting the new surgical hub in there as well.
“I’m just wondering is that the right decision, in view of the fact of what’s going on in the CUH at the moment. There’s huge challenges there for staff, huge challenges there for management, and I’m just wondering, should we have been looking at a facility away from CUH rather than in CUH itself?”
Responding, Mr Donnelly said: “Yes, the surgical hub should be very close to the hospital. The reason for that really is so that the workforce can move because we’ve got consultants who’ll be working in the hospital who can then travel across at short notice, do their elective lists and move back.
“Even though a lot of these are fairly standard procedures, there is always a percentage of those where acute aftercare is required and having the patient close to the hospital for that can be quite useful.”
Noting a “significant investment” in the hospital to support the new chief executive David Donegan and staff, Mr Donnelly said it will include a lot of extra beds, the surgical hub, the paediatric wing, upgrades to oncology, a new trauma centre including the helipad, and a new medical education centre.