Cork’s new elective hospital iwill be be located at St Stephen’s Hospital, Sarsfield’s Court, Glanmire.

A step forward for new hospital

Cork could have a new hospital by December 2025 following confirmation that plans will be moved to tender by the end of this year.

The news was announced yesterday, Wednesday, by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly TD at an Oireachtas Health Committee meeting. He said a design team for an elective hospital at Sarsfield Court in Glanmire has been appointed and “is in place”.

The minister said the design team is currently progressing with planning permission and already working on the detailed design for the project.

“My expectation is that we will be able to move to tender by the final quarter of this year – planning secured, detailed design done, signed off. It's going to be a game changer for the region,” said Mr Donnelly.

In response to Minister Donnelly’s comments, Fine Gael TD for Cork North Central, Colm Burke, told the Cork Independent he welcomes the news but the earliest he would expect contractors to be appointed for delivery of the new hospital is June 2024, followed by 18 months for the actual construction. “We'll have to go through a process for the appointment of contractors, now that will take a bit of time. The minister's department and the HSE can't control the planning process and I hope we won't have any obstacles.”

His comments came following the publication of new figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) this week.

The figures, released on Tuesday, showed 92 patients were without a bed at CUH, while 40 patients were on trollies at MUH.

It is hoped the construction of a new hospital in Cork city would help to alleviate the considerable waiting times being experienced by patients in both CUH and MUH.

The INMO is now calling on the HSE to implement a bespoke plan to tackle overcrowding in Cork city and said there is real concern for nurse safety in both hospitals.

INMO Assistant Director of Industrial Relations for the Southern Region, Colm Porter said: “Overcrowding in both major hospitals in Cork has become out of hand. It is clear now that this warrants a national response from the Health Service Executive.”

He added: “The situation in CUH is continuing to deteriorate week on week. Our members are under significant pressure across all wards. The bed deficit that currently exists in CUH is impacting the ability of our members to carry out the safe care they have been trained to provide to patients.”

A joined statement from CUH and MUH confirmed that both hospitals’ emergency departments (EDs) are currently experiencing increased levels of activity due to the large volumes of patients presenting which may cause delays for some patients.

The statement also highlighted that CUH continues to experience long-standing issues with acute inpatient capacity which results in a large number of patients having to endure lengthy waiting times for admission.

“CUH and MUH are working with HSE colleagues regionally and nationally to address this,” the statement read.

Sinn Féin TD for Cork South-Central, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said: “Teachta Ó Laoghaire said: “We have 3 Cork ministers – Stephen Donnelly is not delivering what is needed and the 3 Cork Ministers need to put the pressure on him to address these issues.”