Completion dates on approved upgrade works on five community hospitals across West Cork have been pushed out by up to three years, it has emerged.
Fianna Fail TD for Cork South West, Margaret Murphy O'Mahony, was given new information from the HSE that reveal substantial delays.
Upgrade works at St Joseph's in Castletownbere has been pushed out to 2020 from its original 2017 promised date.
And St Annes in Skibbereen will not be ready until 2020 despite a promise that it would be ready last year.
St Anthony's in Dunmanway is the only community hospital where construction has started. The project is due to be completed at the end of the year.
Upgrade works at community hospitals in Clonakilty and Kinsale are expected to be completed before January 1 2022.
“Even with the new promised dates there is still a level of uncertainty about the projects and I think that is very unfair,” said Ms Murphy O'Mahony.
“Community Hospitals always provide fantastic care but the facilities do need to be updated.
She believes the delays to upgrade work at the hospitals are further proof of Fine Gael's mishandling of the health service.
“I need to know why the people of West Cork have to wait even longer for promises to be fulfilled.
Ms Murphy O'Mahony said the community hospitals provided essential services to people needing long term care, convalescence, respite, palliative and dementia care in West Cork.
“They are valuable assets and have strong community support. These upgrade works were approved years ago and these latest delays are extremely disappointing.”
Are these delays a knock-on effect of the massive overrun at the National Children’s Hospital?” Ms Murphy O'Mahony asked.
Ms Murphy O'Mahony intends pursuing the matter further with the Minister for Health, Simon Harris.
“I want to know why the people of West Cork are being held to ransom over these five hospitals,” she said.
The HSE has confirmed to Ms Murphy O'Mahony that a contractor has been “identified” for upgrade works at St Joseph's at Castletownbere and a construction contract is being arranged.
Work is expected to start on site next month and is due to be completed towards the end of next year.
A planning application for works at Clonakilty Community Hospital was submitted by the health authority to Cork County Council in November last year and a decision on the application is expected in the coming weeks.
A planning application for Kinsale Community Hospital was due to be lodged with Cork County Council this month.
The HSE has found a contractor for works at St Anne's in Skibbereen and work is expected to start next month and to be completed towards the end of next year.