€90m ‘medical mall’ opens in Mahon

A NEW €90 million state-of-the-art medical centre in Cork is a “medical mall” on the cutting edge of experimentation with the very best of equipment and staff, according to the hospital’s chief executive.

Renowned surgeon Dr Joseph Sheehan, the co-founder of the Blackrock and Galway clinics, has returned from the US after 35 years, to take on the top job at the Cork Medical Centre (CMC), operated by his company, Sheehan Medical

Dr Sheehan said Siemens had provided the centre with very latest equipment that no other hospital in the country has – and some of it is not even available in the US yet.

“Cork has missed out on new facilities for almost a century, and there is a major shortfall in the provision of operating theatres in the Munster region,” Dr Sheehan said.

“Dublin’s catchment area has over two and half times more private operating theatres, despite having a similar population.

“Our day theatres are already 75% booked up therefore, meeting this important surgical demand in the south of the country will be our main priority.”

Dr Sheehan said the team wanted to provide care to everyone in the community no matter who they are – but that it was not the centre’s concern who paid for the treatment.

“We are supplying the facility and the doctors and the way it is funded is not in our hands.

“We are producing the best at the cheapest rate and who pays for it is a changing field, is it the Government, insurance, the person or a charitable organisation? But whoever it is we should not judge it or influence it.”

CMC was approved by Aviva health insurance recently and is accessible by 80% of their customers.

Negotiations with Quinn Insurance and VHI are in the final stages and expected to be completed shortly.

Dr Sheehan said, however, he “does not care” that the VHI has not yet come on board to provide its customers with cover for treatment at the facility and that they would not be dictated to by an insurance company.

“We don’t care that there have been difficulties with the VHI, that is their business.

“We would like them to cover their patients coming here because we can do very good for them, but that’s their choice.”

The Dublin native, whose son James is the chairman of the centre, said medicine should operate in a free market.

“There should be competition. Give patients a choice. Insurance companies should not restrict patients movements just because they bought a policy.

“Competition is the spice of life and it has to be in medicine as well.”

Cork Medical Centre, which will eventually employ 525 people, is the first hospital in Ireland to come with entirely single en-suite bedrooms – 75 in all – with 25 day-patient beds.

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